Saturday, September 15, 2007


Wow, I had a big day... I went through Boston's North End and I have a lot of feelings from the day that I have to digest. I am a digester of cultures and I have to really give myself a day to think about the day I had there. I really need an extra day to think about what I was privy to and give you the proper thoughts from my day. Until then please enjoy this thought I agreed with from Ferdinand Metz , President emeritus of the CIA.

In every culture, women as mothers and nurturers have played a pivotal role in turning basic ingredients into palatable if not delicious and nutritious meals. While men hunted and fished, women cultivating food and developed knowledge, techniques and unique methods of preparation and preservation while providing nourishment for the entire family.

Through the centuries women were responsible for cooking at home, while men became the dominant players in the professional culinary field. They entered it by first being assigned to feed their fellow soldiers, then honing their craft and eventually claiming cooking as their profession. The profession was regulated by guilds from which women were excluded since, by law, they could not own property or control finances and therefore could not inherit or purchase a position within the guild.

With men being so prominent in the culinary field and establishing hierarchies, it is easy to forget that mothers and grandmothers were their first teachers. Most of us keenly observed and even participated as children in our mothers' food preparations. Our contemporary open kitchen concepts speak of our longing for the sense of community among the women in the kitchen while they prepared feasts. We remember the great dishes that our grandmothers or mothers put on the family table, culinary delights that shaped our palates and evoked memories of comfort foods, family gatherings and just plain good times. Even if women were not the first authors of cookbooks as most were not educated to read or write, they became prolific writers once they acquired those skills. Recipes that were formerly passed down verbally from generation to generation, were collected in writing by women for women Some of the most well-known cooking schools in the world were initiated if not founded by women: among them Le Cordon Bleu cooking classes and The Culinary Institute of America.

Today, as women strive to have both professional careers and a family, we are at a turning point as we see more and more women entering culinary schools and ultimately the foodservice industry. We all share the obligation to create and maintain an environment that allows women chefs to pursue their dreams of doing what they truly love. This process must be based on mutual respect and a deeply rooted belief that the promotion of women in the culinary profession is not only the right thing, but the only thing to do.

I congratulate all those women and men who have had the vision and courage to effect fundamental changes in the stereotypical perception of women's roles. They are the pioneers and leaders, who pave the way for future generations We are entering a new era.

Ferdinand Metz
World Association of Chefs' Societie

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