Analiese Gre­gory

Qantas - - YES, CHEF! - Franklin, Ho­bart

At cel­e­brated Aus­tralian-Viet­namese restau­rant An­chovy (an­chovy.net.au), in Richmond, Mel­bourne, chef and co-owner Thi Le runs an all-fe­male team. It was by accident rather than de­sign, she says, but “most boys don’t like be­ing told what to do by a woman.” Le re­ceived a for­ma­tive les­son in kitchen gender pol­i­tics as a young chef work­ing un­der Chris­tine Man­field at Syd­ney restau­rant Uni­ver­sal. “I’d just started work­ing for Chris­tine and I said some­thing one day about fe­male chefs. She al­most slapped me and told me I was a bloody id­iot… a chef was a chef and that was it.”

Chez Panisse alum­nus Danielle Al­varez also prefers to be known sim­ply as “a chef”. She was a great score for the Merivale em­pire when it opened Fred’s (merivale.com) in Syd­ney’s Padding­ton in 2016. “I don’t think of my­self as a fe­male chef,” says the Cuban Amer­i­can, who first vis­ited Aus­tralia in 2015 and liked it so much she stayed. “I’ve worked in kitchens where I never felt there was gender bias or that I had to work harder than the men to be no­ticed.” Her ex­pe­ri­ence of men work­ing for women dif­fers from Le’s: “I do hear from men, in par­tic­u­lar, that they pre­fer to work for fe­male chefs. They say it’s a nicer en­vi­ron­ment... there’s less ego, more of an at­ti­tude of just get­ting on with the job and be­ing cre­ative. Maybe that’s where men and women are dif­fer­ent in the kitchen.”

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