Many tasks traditionally considered “women’s work” are dominated by men in professional settings. Ballet dancers are women, but the most famous choreographers are men. Women do most of the caretaking and cooking at home, but doctors and chefs are predominantly men.
A documentary from KitchenAid examines the barriers and challenges facing women in professional kitchens, from daily harassment to concern that their hands are too small to handle equipment properly. Though 50 percent of culinary graduates are women, only 7 percent of executive chefs are.
Streaming on Hulu beginning today, "A Woman's Place” is directed by Rayka Zehtabchi, the Iranian American filmmaker best known for the Oscar-winning short “Period. End of Sentence.” Vox Creative, Digitas and PRETTYBIRD creative studio Ventureland collaborated on the new documentary, which follows three women: sous chef Marielle, butcher Etana Diaz and restaurateur Karyn Tomlinson.
Fabie grew up helping her parents run a food truck but wasn’t supported when she pursued cooking as a career. Diaz started out as a pastry chef and had to fight to be taken seriously as a butcher. And Tomlinson, who was directed to the front of the house on her first day on the job after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, opened her first restaurant during the pandemic.
A mentorship program through the James Beard Foundation and presented by KitchenAid accompanies the launch of the film. "Over the last century, women, despite their incredible contributions, have struggled to make it in professional kitchens—held back by inequalities unfairly put upon them," said Rob Sundy, head of brand marketing & creative studios at Whirlpool Corporation, in a statement. "As a brand built by women and that stands for creating possibility in the kitchen, we can't stand for inequalities any longer. And now as restaurants fight to reopen after a terrible pandemic forced their doors shut, they need our support more than ever."