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Meet the female chefs changing the cooking industry


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The cooking industry is a huge industry that's hard to crack, and only those who are proven to be amongst the best will achieve highly.

But, even though this is a tough industry, it is an increasingly male dominated one - in the UK, just 17% of chef positions are filled by women. In London, there are 69 Michelin-starred restaurants but only four have females in charge of food. Not the best stats for women here.

So, in honour of International Women's Day, here are some of the top female chefs hoping to change the industry in order to make it more female-friendly.

Clare Smyth, chef patron of two Michelin star Core, Notting Hill

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It’s Tuesday and we're back in the kitchen...⠀ There's no place like home!

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Clare says: "I always wanted to work in the best and toughest environments so that I could learn the most.

"I was often the only woman in those kitchens and therefore automatically I was different and felt I had to prove myself.

"I think it is maybe a female trait; I think lots of women always make sure they can do the job before they apply for it."

Nieves Barragan Mohacho, chef-owner of Michelin star restaurant Sabor, Heddon Street

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Half Octopus on its way at #saborasador

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Nieves says: "In Sabor, we work three and half days and have three and a half days off.

"We try to change this industry in a good way and look after the staff and make sure everyone is happy.

"For that, they need to have time off."

Asma Khan, chef-owner of Darjeeling Express, Soho

Asma says: "With so much anger and hatred and a toxic environment, how do these people get the food out? How does it taste right when there is so much anger?

"For me food is always about love.

"It's not about an ego, it's not an ego trip.

"Kitchens need to wake up to the fact that women are not a liability, they are an asset."

Sandia Chang, sommelier and general manager of Bubbledogs and two Michelin star Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, Bloomsbury

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Happy new year everyone! Couldn’t think of a better way to start 2019 then with @david_leclapart Champagne! #growerchampagne

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Sandia says: "The clientele now are younger; the people who go out to eat are younger, well-travelled and not so stuck in the past.

"They're more open to having a female presence in the dining room."

Chantelle Nicholson (chef owner of Tredwells and group operations director at Marcus Wareing Restaurants)

Chantelle says: "My biggest thing is, just don't overthink it.

"Just get in there and take each day as it comes, do what you need to do and, as I say to my guys, as long as you're learning something new every day, then that's a good day."

Monica Galetti, chef-proprietor of Mere, in X, and former senior sous chef of Le Gavroche, Mayfair

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Congrats to this mad and loveable guy @tbone_chops and @djbbq on their new book

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Monica says: "For me it's so important that I fly the flag for coloured female chefs as well.

"I think it should be something that empowers people, being different and coming from different backgrounds of food.

"They bring something unique, that I think can play to their strengths."

So, despite the fact that cooking is a male dominated industry, things are changing, and women CAN make it as top professional chefs - just like these ladies have.

Like this article? Read about inspiring women in the book industry here.

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