This week, the American magazine Time released the Kitchen Pantheon, a list of the most influential names of recent times. The editors chose 13 people – among chefs, food critics, producers and writers – from around the world who are able to occupy the posts of gastronomic gods. Well then. The question is: where are the cooks at? Ah yes, there are four women on Time’s list, but none are part of the “chefs family tree”. That’s right. None. Worse, none of them can be seen on the cover of the magazine or on that of the assembled club. And about the expression, I didn’t invent it. Time’s own editor, Howard Choua-Eowan, said that “there are some good chefs, but unfortunately they are not as influential as men. After all, it remains a boys’ club. ”
There is an established idea that good women in the kitchen are the ones who make homemade food, far from the professional. Mine, your mother. Some gain prominence when they are “lucky”, such as television presenter Nigella Lawson, to name the most current. Technique, creations and skills are things for them, the real chefs. I was wondering when this came about. It is likely that it came with 20% less in women’s wages, or even when they invented that a decent woman is a woman who works at home. “Ah, but this is changing! Don’t you see that there are a lot of female chefs? ”, You will ask me.
Of course yes. Of course, there are renowned cooks, starting with the Brazilian Helena Rizzo, who stayed with her restaurant (Maní) in the list of the 50 best in the world by the British magazine Restaurant, and also won the Veuve Clicquot award for best Female Chef in Latin America in 2013. To give an example a little closer to the USA, since Time is located there: Barbara Lynch, a well-known chef in Boston, who has as many restaurants as David Chang, is not on the list (Chang does). When asked about this, Choua-Eowan stated that despite being fantastic, Lynch is very “local”. In Boston, one of the largest cities in the USA.
To clarify the question of why there are no women on the list of chefs, I will put the quotation marks of Choua-Eowan for you to draw your own conclusions about the editor. “They are only men because they take care of themselves. Women really need someone to, so to speak, take care of each other. ”
Here is the list of the food gods, according to Time (this is a translation with some of my pointers):
- Andrea Petrini. He is an Italian food critic who lives in Paris. He is known to reveal the talents of young chefs. The events he organizes are ways of bringing people together who would never have the opportunity to meet.
- Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Both authors were born in Jerusalem, in opposite places of the divided city: Ottolenghi is Jewish and Tamimi is Arab. But the two produced an excellent compilation (Jerusalem) on the gastronomy of the holy city.
- Sergio Nuñez de Arco. The Bolivian businessman took quinoa, a hyper-healthy indigenous grain, to the USA. The responses to this attitude came quickly. Well, I bet that’s why you know quinoa today.
- Amrita Patel. She coordinates the continued growth of the dairy industry in India and its distribution system. The result is a previously unimaginable socio-economic progress for the Indian nation.
- Michael Pollan. “Eat food. Not so much. Choose plants mainly ”. These words are his and are three simple commandments of the sustainable food movement. His book is the scriptures.
- Alex Atala, René Redzepi and David Chang. They are the three best of the best and best known chefs in the world – and also best friends. Their friendship and open mind reveal the new and more accessible world of haute cuisine, an important step beyond the secret and selfish realm of cuisine.
- Albert Adrià. Soon, he will run five restaurants in the same region in Barcelona – and literally runs from street to street to lead them. But he is more than a good chef, who is the person who runs the kitchen. In addition, he is probably the best cook, a true magician in the kitchen who manages to combine inspiration and execution without problems.
- Wan Long. He was a soldier and now runs the largest meat processing company in China, a country that loves its pigs. And to help quench the Middle East’s hunger for pork (healthy and reliable) he is buying Smithfield Foods, the largest producer of pork in the United States.
- Dan Barber. Barber tries to start a philosophical and practical consideration of how to grow plants, all the way from the seeds to the final result, as a way of knowing if the food we eat is, besides being more tasty, healthy.
- Aida Batlle. As a child, she fled the native city of El Salvador to grow up in Miami. When he returned, he transformed the family’s coffee plantations for a new appreciation of the specific qualities of coffee and its beans, all part of a new wave of flavors that came from the care of roasting. It teaches us to slowly – not instantly – enjoy coffee.
- Vandana Shiva. Trained to be physical, she is the “plague” that mistreats large-scale agriculture and defenders of genetically modified foods. His charismatic appearances and speeches help to energize the battle against so-called “Franken-foods” – despite the arguments that GM foods can really help the poor and hungry.
- Ertharin Cousin. The mind behind the United Nation World Food Program is responsible for feeding more people than anyone else on the planet. But it does it in a way that satisfies people – not just basic nutrition.
- True World Foods. The sushi you eat may come from this mysterious but ubiquitous supplier, perhaps the largest supplier of raw fish in the entire USA. To add to the mystery, the company has links to the controversial Unification Church, founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
Something tells me that machismo prevails. Still. We are in 2013, more than two thousand years of “civilization”! Wow, what a breakthrough.
And you, what do you think of Time’s list of gods?