A lot of us must have wondered about why the famous and most well known chefs are all male? It makes no sense given that even today, most of the cooking in any household is done by women.
This has often confused me, and among the suggestions provided in the Quora, like crazy work hours (stay at home women work 365.25/24/7) and uncomfortable environments (heat in the kitchen, really?) I have heard many ridiculous answers from folks around me such as “women can only ever be average at anything”, “men are smarter, that’s why”. Well no surprise there, considering I hail from a country which is the worlds 4th most dangerous place for women and is filled with misogynistic bigots.
But wait, it’s not just India. All around the world, even while we rave about our mom’s succulent brisket/murgh massallum and grandma’s amazing pie/patishapta, the best chefs are men.
I have an explanation. Have you ever heard of the PayPal mafia? It’s one of the greatest stories in startup culture where the founding partners and employees of PayPal had their big “exit” to eBay and got very rich overnight and instead of taking a break, they went ahead and founded and invested in many many more successful companies and got to be termed as the “PayPal Mafia” in the Silicon Valley. The secret to this is, as Ryan Holmes, founder of HootSuite explains, very simple: “The PayPal buyout gave some very young, very ambitious people the confidence to try for another big win and an experienced network to fund them.” That’s it, that’s the magical secret ingredient – confidence!
Growing up, my family raved about what an awesome cook my elder cousin was because he made great “maggi noodles” – which is Indian Mr. Noodles. And apparently, my younger cousin made the best shakes – he put bananas and vanilla ice cream in the blender and left a huge mess in the kitchen every time. I never thought of it too much and enjoyed the food and fattened up well 😉 My dad was also known to be a great cook (and I think he is too) and made mutton curry, where he needed at least 2 sous-chefs while at it and turned the house upside down and his specialty was – the curry had as many kilos of chillis as meat and was always too spicy for anyone to eat. Yet, everyone applauded them on. Because them cooking was special in itself. When I was in high school, I saw my girl friends cook entire dinners because it was simply expected of them.
I have seen this repeated over and over and over. In various walks of life. Among people from all over the world. Chinese, Canadian, Persian, Indian, Polish. I once heard my friends mother tell him that he makes the best microwavable popcorn! And it’s not just wth cooking. Having an accepting, supporting cheering team always behind you gives you the courage and confidence to try, experiment, fail, succeed.
Tell me.. do you agree? How little signs and unawareness can make life changing differences? Do you think our future generations deserve better, deserve a fair chance to succeed and excel? Are you going to be the change you want to see?