Most people love dining out, from choosing the restaurant to securing a reservation, dressing for the occasion and noshing your way through the different courses.
But have you ever wondered or, better yet, asked to meet the head chef when you’ve been blown away by the unforgettable meal? Try it next time and you may be alarmed to find that the head chef is probably male.
According to a recent survey by the Boston Globe on the percentage of men and women in various professions, women make up only about 21% of head chefs, while their male counterparts make up over 78% of this demographic.
Online culinary watchdog Chefify.net, which is also quite vocal about the gender disparities still found within the industry, recently posted that “the culinary industry is not a particularly positive example of a strong gender balance”.
The group further stated that just 20.9% of chefs in the US and less than 20% of the professional chef population in the UK are women.
However, there are some hospitality industry players who are working hard to change the landscape in order to cement the position of women in this multibillion-rand business.
Tsogo Sun Hotels, which prides itself on creating unique and memorable food experiences, is among the game changers – already boasting 557 female chefs out of a total of 1,186 chefs at different levels of training throughout the group.
“Our philosophy is founded on delivering the highest culinary standards, with significant investment in our chefs’ progress and career development,” said Ravi Nadasen, chief operating officer of Tsogo Sun Hotels.
“We’re extremely proud of the progress we have made in achieving an equitable balance in this sector.”
With a 47% female representation across its chain of hotels and restaurants, Tsogo Sun’s figures already surpasses the trend reported by Chefify.net in January last year.
Among the many “(s)heroes” cooking their way into hearts of patrons at the hotel group’s eateries are Nthabiseng Phiri (demi chef de partie at Medeo at The Palazzo); Precious Malebye (sous chef) and Phumzile Skosana (pastry sous chef) both at 54 on Bath’s fine-dining Level Four restaurant; Gouwah Kafoor (head chef at Sandton Convention Centre); Beverly Bogatsu (pastry chef at Sandton Sun’s San Deck & Restaurant) and Kirsten Howell (executive sous chef at Southern Sun Montecasino’s Punchinello’s restaurant).
Nadasen said all of Tsogo Sun Hotels’ female chefs around the country were recognised and appreciated for the consummate skills, talents, creativity and passion for cooking that they bring to the table every day.
“Tsogo Sun Hotels is proud of all our chefs and we acknowledge their powerful contribution to our team, their engagement with colleagues, their focus on development and their overall positive, hardworking, and creative approach to their craft,” said Nadasen.