France’s brand-new Michelin Guide: More Fraternité Than Égalité

which is usually a paltry ratio — less than 3 percent — even compared with additional countries.

Of the 195 Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, only 19 have female chefs, according to the guide’s publisher, Groupe Michelin. There are only 20 women chefs at the 166 starred restaurants within the United States, the publisher said. Italy has the most, with 44 out of 365, or about 12 percent.

Gender imbalance within the kitchen is usually as French as foie gras as well as as traditional as a postprandial coffee. France has long enshrined the practice in which women cook at home for the family while men acquire fame as well as wealth as chefs in famous restaurants.

“The first is usually a lonely work at home for a limited circle,” said Franck Pinay-Rabaroust, editor in chief of the gastronomic information site Atabula as well as a former writer for the Guide Michelin. “For the second there is usually an organization, a brigade to direct.”


Fanny Rey, whose restaurant in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence has won a Michelin star, tries to train as well as promote women chefs.

Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Male domination of professional French cooking goes back to the Middle Ages.

“The court was itinerant as well as when kings were traveling with their staff, in general, the idea was rather men who followed,” said Patrick Rambourg, a historian as well as specialist on French gastronomy. “When you have This kind of historical design for so long, the idea can move yet, we need to give the idea more time.”

The Guide Michelin says none of This kind of matters: the idea’s only about the food.

Gender is usually “not something we take into account,” Michael Ellis, the international director of the guides, told Agence France-Presse. “Our inspectors are there to check the quality of the cuisine.”

Guide Michelin declined to provide further comment.

yet the guide is usually inextricably part of tradition, as well as reflects the prevailing norms. In its 118-year history, the guide has awarded its top honor, three stars, to only four female chefs, through Eugénie Brazier, the chef at La Mère Brazier restaurant in Lyon in 1933, to Anne-Sophie Pic, the most recent woman to win a star, in 2007.

Some who study France’s culinary tradition explain the absence of women through professional kitchens by pointing to physical demands, like the ability to wield a heavy cooking pot or wrestle an animal carcass. Having children is usually also cited as a reason, since combining a family life having a restaurant schedule is usually challenging.

“Today in cuisine, we hardly see a woman take a chief position because the rhythm is usually extremely tough,” Mr. Pinay-Rabaroust said. “They have to work twice as much to show they are equal to men.”

Ms. Frédiani hopes to change which. While doing her 2017 documentary, “The Goddess of Food,” she discovered which there were many female chefs out there. She as well as her friends are right now trying to come up with their own list of restaurants owned by female chefs in France.

After an appeal sent through social media, they received about 0 names. “The idea is usually to publish the idea openly,” she said. “So we can no longer say which there are no female chefs in France.”

France’s equivalent of the “Me Too” movement, “Balance Ton Porc” or, roughly, Out Your Pig, has opened a breach for French women not only to speak out against sexual misconduct, yet also to demand more parity within the workplace. Ms. Frédiani sees the battle for gender equality in restaurant kitchens as part of which larger struggle.

“When we fix the issue in gastronomy,” she said, “the idea will help many women in every field.”

the idea is usually a battle chefs like Coline Faulquier, who owns the restaurant La Pergola in Marseille, are prepared to join.


Anne-Sophie Pic, in her restaurant La Dame De Pic in Paris, was the most recent woman to win a Michelin star, in 2007.

Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“We are not required to become men, yet we have to mentally harden ourselves,” she said.

She does everything a male chef does except she has one more person to manage, her four-year-old son.

His father helps her yet, even so, she said, juggling motherhood with the demands of running a restaurant is usually a daily “race against time.” She closes her restaurant at night through Monday to Thursday, as well as crosses town every day to pick her son up at school before serving the lunch to patrons at noon.

yet like every passionate chef, she is usually ambitious. “I will give myself the means,” she said, aiming for the Michelin star.

Fanny Rey, who won her first Michelin star last year, has tried to change the kitchen culture at the restaurant she owns with her partner in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence by hiring as well as training women. Her restaurant employs three women within the kitchen as well as three within the dining room.

as well as she has trained a few women as chefs at her restaurant.

“To me, the idea has always been important to be surrounded by women,” she said.

She says there are many talented female chefs who deserve exposure yet may not get the idea because they are not head chefs.

One of them is usually Jessica Prealpato, the head pastry chef at the three-star Restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. Mr. Ducasse’s restaurants have a total of 19 Michelin stars.

“When I arrived, obviously the idea was tough, because I put pressure on myself,” she said.

When she told Mr. Ducasse about her plans to have her first child, she found him understanding. He was willing to arrange her schedule to accommodate a family life “because he told me he needs me as well as my creativity,” she said.

The tradition may be changing gradually yet there are signs of change.

Ferrandi, a prestigious institution which prepares mostly young people for careers in gastronomy as well as hospitality management, says which 56 percent of its students This kind of year are women. Women make up 79 percent of those working toward a bachelor’s degree in pastry doing.

the idea is usually those women Ms. Frédiani hopes to reach.

“By showing them which women chefs are there, which they do exist,” she said, “I think the idea will motivate them to dream big, to dare to make their dreams come true.”

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