Fe­male food (s)he­roes

TSOGO SUN: AD­DRESS­ING HUGE GEN­DER IM­BAL­ANCE AMONG CHEFS

The Citizen (KZN) - - City - Hay­den Horner

Women are fi­nally ce­ment­ing their place in com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try.

Most peo­ple love din­ing out, from choos­ing the restau­rant to se­cur­ing a reser­va­tion, dress­ing for the oc­ca­sion and nosh­ing your way through the dif­fer­ent cour­ses.

But have you ever won­dered or, bet­ter yet, asked to meet the head chef when you’ve been blown away by the un­for­get­table meal? Try it next time and you may be alarmed to find that the head chef is prob­a­bly male.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by the Bos­ton Globe on the per­cent­age of men and women in var­i­ous pro­fes­sions, women make up only about 21% of head chefs, while their male coun­ter­parts make up over 78% of this de­mo­graphic.

On­line culi­nary watch­dog Chefi fy.net, which is also quite vo­cal about the gen­der dis­par­i­ties still found within the in­dus­try, re­cently posted that “the culi­nary in­dus­try is not a par­tic­u­larly pos­i­tive ex­am­ple of a strong gen­der bal­ance”.

The group fur­ther stated that just 20.9% of chefs in the US and less than 20% of the pro­fes­sional chef pop­u­la­tion in the UK are women.

How­ever, there are some hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try play­ers who are work­ing hard to change the land­scape in or­der to ce­ment the po­si­tion of women in this multi­bil­lion-rand busi­ness.

Tsogo Sun Ho­tels, which prides it­self on cre­at­ing unique and mem­o­rable food ex­pe­ri­ences, is among the game chang­ers – al­ready boast­ing a 557 fe­male chefs out of a to­tal of 1 186 chefs at dif­fer­ent lev­els of train­ing through­out the group.

“Our phi­los­o­phy is founded on de­liv­er­ing the high­est culi­nary stan­dards, with sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in our chefs’ progress and ca­reer de­vel­op­ment,” said Ravi Nadasen, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Tsogo Sun Ho­tels.

“We’re ex­tremely proud of the progress we have made in achiev­ing an eq­ui­table bal­ance in this sec­tor.” With a 47% fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion across its chain of ho­tels and restau­rants, Tsogo Sun’s fig­ures al­ready sur­passes the trend re­ported by Chefi fy.net in Jan­uary last year. Among the many “(s)he­roes” cook­ing their way into hearts of pa­trons at the ho­tel group’s eater­ies are Nthabiseng Phiri (demi chef de par­tie at Medeo at The Palazzo); Pre­cious Male­bye (sous chef ) and Phumzile Skosana (pas­try sous chef ) both at 54 on Bath’s fine-din­ing Level Four restau­rant; Gouwah Kafoor (head chef at Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre); Bev­erly Bo­gatsu (pas­try chef at Sand­ton Sun’s San Deck & Restau­rant) and Kirsten How­ell (ex­ec­u­tive long­stand­ing at south­ern Sun Mon­te­casino’s Punchinell­o’s restau­rant).

Nadasen said all of Tsogo Sun ho­tels’ fe­male chefs around the coun­try were recog­nised and ap­pre­ci­ated for the con­sum­mate skills, tal­ents, cre­ativ­ity and pas­sion for cook­ing that they bring to the ta­ble ev­ery day.

“Tsogo Sun Ho­tels is proud of all our chefs and we ac­knowl­edge their pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tion to our team, their en­gage­ment with col­leagues, their fo­cus on de­vel­op­ment and their over­all pos­i­tive, hard-work­ing, and cre­ative ap­proach to their craft,” said Nadasen.

Pic­ture: iStock

Pic­tures: Sup­plied

BEV­ERLY BO­GATSU

KIRSTEN HOW­ELL

PHUMZILE SKOSANA

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