It’s 2018, a time when women in all facets of life are speaking out about the world they see around them and experience. Their voices are louder than ever it seems, or maybe it’s just that they are finally being heard.
At some point in the film it is brought up about the sudden explosion of popularity of the food world. How chefs become pop stars. There is no better example as it relates to pop culture than Gordon Ramsay, someone referenced multiple times in the film and one of the subjects was under the tutelage of early on in her career. His brashness that defined him and his television personality. Food and cooking on a whole took on a whole new life on TV where we adore the work and watching as we see great people do great things. Now with all that viewed in front of us we look at this film and wonder where the women are in this world?
In all the aspects of life it’s hard for women to progress and be noticed as accomplished. It is no different in the world of cuisine it would seem. Maya Gallus’ film takes the time to discuss the history of a handful of female chefs as well as what they are doing now as being actual successes by any measurement in the culinary world.
This film feels like it’s intent is split somehow. On one side you have a film that wants solely to celebrate these female chefs and their achievements, whether it be the multi-Michelin-Star restaurant owner/head-chef or just having their own place to run as they please and be themselves; and on the other hand, it wants to discuss the ways in which the system is biased against them being noticed or succeeding. Due to this split the film never feels complete. It feels as though both aspects would be interesting conversations to be privy to, but neither feels fully tapped into.
When it comes to discussing the female inequality in the cooking world the film tries by having our subjects tell their experience. Whether it is one woman talking about how when she started out having colleagues take bets as to how long she could last before quitting in the intense world of the kitchen, or another discussing how she had nobody to identify with and be a guiding light for her professional ambitions. These stories in their own right hold the power when you hear and take the time to comprehend how they would mould anybody who lacks the convictions to push through all these tall hurdles.
These stories come to a culmination when we move forward to hearing these women discuss what they are doing in their own kitchens. How they take their experience and create work environments with their creations. One even discussing how she was shouted and scolded on a daily basis in her early years and now as the head chef refusing to partake in that behaviour but still getting remarkable results.
The film on a whole isn’t the end all and be all cooking documentary experience nor is it the best tell all story of women in the industry. It is still a mostly interesting viewing and a starting point for more possibly.