Why Female Chef’s are underrated in India?
Women have always been overlooked in professions like directing, screen writing, music, acting, and in professional cooking. If kitchen is the place where a woman should work, why the female chef’s remain so underrated in the country?
More than half a century after the arrival of feminism in India, women still struggle to find the fame they deserve. It is not that there aren’t any females in this industry. There are plenty of them since the beginning but have not been awarded with enough attention like their male counterparts. The friction comes from the belief of the patriarchy system that holds women responsible for cooking only at homes to serve their families. When such women step out of the homes, serving huge number of people with delicious food, we fail to give them enough recognition reasoning that to cook is a task they are bound to perform. While the public remembers the Master Chef India’s judges Kunal Kapur, Vikas Khanna, Ajay Chopra and Sanjeev Kapoor they would hardly be able to name few female chefs. People name Hemant Oberoi, Ananda Solomon, Imtiaz Qureshi, and Marut Sikka but forget to name Ritu Dalmia, Veena Arora, Manisha Bhasin and Nita Nagaraj who are equally competent. Pankaj Bhadouria and Shipra Khanna, the winners of season 1 and season 2 of Master Chef India is an example that women are no less in possession of professional culinary skills. Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka, a cookery show on Star Plus by Pankaj Bhadouria was soon forgotten by the public. Ms. Late Tarla Dalal, author of more than 150 cookbooks, host of cookery show ‘Cook It Up with Tarla Dalal’ that have been aired in most Asian countries, Middle East and even USA is still a name not much talked about in India. From running roadside hotels popularly known as ‘dhabas’ to working as chef in five star restaurants, women are successful everywhere yet their presence is not being properly acknowledged. Madhumita Mohanta, an Executive Chef at Clardiges, Surajkund and Kamini Jha, the Tandoor specialist in The Oberoi are such examples. Anjum Anand is another such name, who is a food writer and TV chef. Madhu Krishnan, Madhu Jaffrey, Padma Parvati Lakshmi are other names who deserve appreciation. While, most of the men in the field receive formal training; interestingly, most of the women in this field have no professional training but have acquired the skills themselves to satisfy their thirst and love for cooking. If they are given as much training and encouragement as men, they would surely surpass the talent men exhibit in this industry. We must appreciate the women who take up this job despite the odd timings and hurdles it possess. We must accept that women were, are and will be the queen of kitchen, be it inside the home or outside at a restaurant!! ———— About the Author: This article has been contributed by Srishti Raj, our intern. Srishti is a student of Computer Science & Engineering at KIIT University at Bhubaneswar. She is an avid reader and a keen observer who yearns to see a change in the society.