Recently, I created a female chef biography lesson to accomplish a few important points. First, I wanted to find a way to help my students begin to change the way we think about success. Second, I wanted to bring to light the many women who contribute to the food industry as much as, if not more than, their male counterparts. Third, I wanted to immerse baker-trainees into the industry. Fourth, I wanted to incorporate technology with critical thinking skills.
I think I was able to accomplish them. My students learned and were inspired by these chefs. In addition, we really honed in on what it means to be a woman in the industry as well as what defines success. For most students, success has more to do with doing your job well as well as earning the respect of your peers, both male and female, through varying accomplishments (awards to accolades). It has less to do with being on TV.
An unintended conversation we had was about being a woman in a male-dominated space. With stories coming out daily about harassment and other crimes against women, it was interesting to talk about how it all affects female bakers and chefs. There have been several articles written in quite a few news sources about this issue, specifically dealing with the kitchen. It is unfortunately unsurprising that even in 2017 we’re still dealing with this. Opening the door on the conversation is the first step in dealing with this issue. Creating a safe place and listening without judgement are next.
As women, we have a lot more battles to fight. We need to help each other rise. Men have an obligation to help women too. We are their mothers, sisters, wives, etc. Being silent only perpetuates the stigmas and allows the abhorrent behaviors to continue. Each one of us has a stake in making sure we are safe at home and in the workplace.