In the second instalment of our three-part content series for International Women’s Day 2020, we asked some of the world’s best chefs and bartenders for the advice they would like to share with the next generation. Discover their words of encouragement and inspiration and the tips they would give to upcoming cooks and bartenders all over the world
Vicky Lau, Tate Dining Room, Hong Kong: When I decided to become a chef, it never crossed my mind that gender would play a prominent role in my work life. Now that I have been named Asia’s Best Female Chef, I have a responsibility to educate and motivate more females to follow their passion, no matter the field they are in – this has become my drive at work. Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Never stop learning and never stop inspiring.
Elena Arzak, Arzak, Spain: Give yourself a strong academic preparation, work hard and get as much practical experience as possible. Always remember that there are no differences between women and men in the kitchen.
Bee Satongun, Paste, Thailand: Dig deep inside and find a true connection to your food. Study, practice and build your technique constantly – that is the foundation that will allow your creativity to truly shine and grow. Authenticity is not duplication of the past; it is learning from the past, discovering depth and details that are new to you, and adapting them.
Lynn Lin, Electric Bing Sutt, Lebanon: Use your feminine point of view to provide a different perspective on business and management styles. Always try to respect the views of others and their individual personalities. Then, find the best way to work with each person. The bar business is not about obeying, it’s about listening and genuine kindness.
Hélène Darroze, Marsan, France: Be a woman. In this male dominated industry, never try to be or act as a man. Keep your feminine sensibility in terms of management, culinary approach and taste. I often say that most male chefs want to cook firstly to demonstrate something, whereas female chefs cook firstly to give pleasure, to share something. I will always advise young female chefs to cook with this approach.
Garima Arora, Gaa, Thailand: Keep your head down and work hard. I wish I worked even harder in the early days of my career. In your 20s, don't just take vacation, use that time to work and gain as much experience as you can possibly get.
Raimonda Basso Bondini, Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, Italy: The bar world needs figures who are able to express hospitality at 360 degrees, not “women” and “men”. As female bartenders, we must demand the opportunity to express ourselves through our work. This also means studying and working hard to become masters of our craft. Talent and dedication must have the same importance.
Kamilla Seidler, Lola, Denmark: Think of yourself not as a female chef, but as a chef. Find your feet and the right shoes where they feel comfortable, because this industry can embrace you. But if you aren’t in the right place and it doesn't feel comfortable, move on instead of hanging on and acting tough. There are other opportunities out there.
Elena Reygadas, Rosetta, Mexico: Don't follow trends. Listen to yourself and follow your instincts.
Lyia Yang, Bar Mood, Taiwan: As female bartenders, we can use our attention to detail and provide our guest with a unique experience. Having a female touch in this job is a valuable and irreplaceable asset.
Carolina Bazán, Ambrosía, Chile: This is a difficult career that requires a lot of dedication, but the satisfaction of a job well done is priceless. We dedicate ourselves to making people smile, and that will make you smile.
Pía León, Kjolle, Peru: To study cooking today is to have the opportunity to become a great cook who stays in their own kitchen, or one who does many good things outside of the kitchen too. It's a matter of choosing what makes you happiest.
Clare Smyth, Core by Clare Smyth, UK: Work hard and work for someone whom you believe in. Pushing through the difficult times makes you better.
Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, US: Girls and boys are the same when they’re born, but then, we teach them differently about who they need to be. Everyone needs to be a part of the conversation, but don't feed on the rhetoric of others. Be yourself. Be confident. Go for it: work hard and be curious.
‘50/50 is the new 50’ is a content series created by 50 Best and supported by S.Pellegrino with the shared aim of promoting equality, inclusivity and balance in the hospitality sector and beyond.
Read the first instalment of the International Women’s Day series, in which the world’s best female chefs shared the advice that helped them succeed. Stay tuned to 50 Best Stories for the final part and follows us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for the latest news, features and videos.