+
More

A letter about sexism from this celeb chef has lessons for all men on how to be an ally.

The recent "revelations" of rampant harassment in the restaurant industry weren’t exactly a shocker to the women working in it.

Or the men, for that matter.

This isn’t just a matter of a few bad eggs and ​we all know it. For every John Besh splashed across Page Six, we can assume hundreds, if not thousands, more chefs run kitchens just like the ones his female employees described.


Something’s broken here.

It’s time that chefs and restaurant owners candidly acknowledge the larger culture that hatched all these crummy eggs, and have some hard conversations amongst ourselves that are long overdue.

Let’s start with this:

Assessing a woman as a body, rather than as a person with a mind, character, and talent, denies the full measure of her humanity.

It’s wrong and it demeans us all. Men shouldn't need to be told this. They shouldn’t need to be told that the high stakes of elite kitchens don’t justify the ugly machismo that runs through so many of them.

There was a stretch in the late ’90s at Gramercy Tavern when all the senior chefs in my kitchen were women. Night after brutal night we faced the same pressured ballet of high heat, 86’d salmon, and tickets spitting out of the printer at a clip too fast to meet.

The only difference was the quiet; the smack talk was gone. These chefs were tightly focused, competing against themselves and not each other. I recall a group of French chefs were visiting at the time who had a good sneer over the male to female ratio in the kitchen. I also recall they shut up pretty quickly once they saw the food.

As men, it's time for us to take responsibility for the culture of sexism in restaurant kitchens — and to fix it.

My kitchen is hardly perfect.

I’ve let my temper run high and driven the pressure up. I’ve brushed off the leering without acknowledging its underlying hostility. I once called a journalist a 'rumor-mongering b***h' for printing gossip that hurt my staff, a gendered slur that I regret.

But, I count myself lucky. I had a father who wouldn’t allow disrespect of my mother, and that lesson sunk in more fully during my formative years than the casual misogyny I saw everywhere else. It made it an easy choice to turn away the high-paying bachelor parties that wanted to rent out the PDR and bring in a stripper, which isn’t an environment my servers signed on for. It made it a no-brainer to fire the creep of a staffer who snapped pictures of his female co-workers in their changing room without their consent. And it makes it easy for me to see that it’s time for men in the restaurant industry to say to each other: enough.

Deep down, men know that sexist shit-talk is just a lazy substitute for real wit.

They know that work is not sexy time. They know that if they have to insist it was consensual, it probably wasn’t. They know that women really don’t want to hear about their boners (and that they shouldn’t say boner because they’re not fifteen.)

I imagine leaders in our industry will now come rushing forward with talk about how women should feel safe and valued in our restaurants. But is it any wonder that this sexist culture persists in professional kitchens when most of the women are gone from the back of the house by the time they hit their 30s? When the ones who remain are paid, on average, 28% less than their male counterparts?

We need to do more than pay lip service to fixing this. It’s not enough for us to ask, "How can we behave differently around our women employees and coworkers?" Instead we should be asking "What barriers to their success do I owe it to them to remove?" Those of us with our own kitchens should be asking "What have I been able to take for granted on my way to the top that women often can’t, and how can I help fix that?"

We all sweated and scrapped and worked damn hard to get where we are, but most of us did it without the added torment of sexual harassment.

A generation ago, American chefs were the young upstarts, bucking old-world conventions and forging a new path. We were the ones to watch. Is this the end of that era? Or do we have a second act in us, one in which we excite eaters more than ever because we’re empowering a new generation of talent?

Chefs are a tough bunch: canny, creative and quick on our feet. That’s why I’m betting our industry can shrug off its leering lizard skin and get this right. I’m betting that we’re smart and confident enough to level the playing field and create real opportunity, or at least learn how it’s done from the new crop of women (and men) running their own kickass kitchens humanely and winning awards, all while parenting young kids. I’m betting we can reinvent our industry as a place where people of all genders feel safe and prepared to lead.

Some aging bros may give us flack for it. But only until they see the food.

This story first appeared on Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Late Late Show with James Corden/Youtube

The instructors were ruthless.

If you’re not familiar with James Corden’s popular "Toddlerography" segment, you’re in for a treat.

As the name suggests, celebrity guests on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” take a dance class taught by kiddy instructors. Sure, the “students” are usually pretty seasoned performers, like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Jason Derulo, but their experience doesn’t make learning the moves any less intense. Anyone who’s tried to keep pace with a toddler knows it’s a helluva workout.

Billy Porter was the latest guest invited to participate in this wholesome fitness trend, and he did not disappoint.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Freepik

A new mother struggling with postpartum depression.

We may be just months away from having the first-ever pill to help treat postpartum depression (PPD). The drug, called Zuranolone, was developed by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen, two companies out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The FDA has given the drug’s application priority review and the period ends on August 5, 2023.

Currently, there is only one FDA-approved medication for PPD, Zulresso, which is only available through a 60-hour, one-time infusion and can cost up to $35,000 per treatment.

If the medication is approved, it can also be used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).

Keep ReadingShow less

North Carolina boy helps local bakery by selling them fresh eggs.

You don't have to be a market analyst to know that the price of eggs has skyrocketed. If you're just an average person buying eggs for breakfast, it may seem ridiculous that egg prices are so high when it appears that the local Tractor supply always has baby chicks for sale.

But with an outbreak of avian flu infecting nearly 58 million birds while people move away from meat protein and consume more eggs, the price increase makes sense. It's painful to people's budgets, but it's how the market works, and families aren't the only ones feeling the pinch.

Small businesses that rely on eggs are also experiencing their budgets busting due to egg prices. Sweet Anna's Bakery in Dallas, North Carolina, already had to raise prices due to the cost of eggs and other ingredients, but owner Courtney Johnson discovered she had a connection. Fifth grader Rylen Robbins has 21 chickens that were producing too many eggs for his family to eat. (You see where this is going, right?)

Keep ReadingShow less
AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

Keep ReadingShow less