Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen

Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen

by Charlotte Druckman
     
 

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In this in-depth, behind-the-scenes tell-all about the lives of women chefs, journalist Charlotte Druckman walks the reader into the world behind the hot line. But this is a different perspective on the kitchen: one told through the voices of more than 70 of the best and brightest women cooking today, These are female chefs performing culinary and domestic high

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Overview

In this in-depth, behind-the-scenes tell-all about the lives of women chefs, journalist Charlotte Druckman walks the reader into the world behind the hot line. But this is a different perspective on the kitchen: one told through the voices of more than 70 of the best and brightest women cooking today, These are female chefs performing culinary and domestic high wire acts: juggling sharp knives, battering heat, bruising male egos, and working endless hours, often while raising small children and living from paycheck to paycheck. How they deal with pressures, the expectations, the successes and failures, makes for absorbing reading.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this well-researched book, food journalist Druckman explores what it’s like for women in the very intense and sometimes glamorous restaurant industry as she interviews 75 female chefs and restaurant owners from around the country. Initially, the author’s jokey asides seem distracting and the footnotes reminiscent of a term paper, but once the other voices are interspersed, hers becomes endearing and the footnotes useful sources of additional background, including what certain lingo like BOH (back of house) means. She speaks with such luminaries as Alice Waters and Lydia Shire as well as newbies Christina Tosi and Stephanie Izard (to date the only woman to have won Top Chef). The chefs weigh in on a variety of subjects including how to promote themselves and grow their businesses via television and social media, and balancing 18-hour days and personal lives. But the biggest recurring issue they encounter is sexism, like the banker who won’t give a chef-owner with a thriving restaurant a loan for a second place, the guys in the kitchen who verbally abuse and harass their female counterparts, and the pastry field, where many women end up and do spectacularly well, but are far less respected by awards outfits and restaurant critics. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly: In this well-researched book, food journalist Druckman explores what it's like for women in the very intense and sometimes glamorous restaurant industry as she interviews 75 female chefs and restaurant owners from around the country. Initially, the author's jokey asides seem distracting and the footnotes reminiscent of a term paper, but once the other voices are interspersed, hers becomes endearing and the footnotes useful sources of additional background, including what certain lingo like BOH (back of house) means. She speaks with such luminaries as Alice Waters and Lydia Shire as well as newbies Christina Tosi and Stephanie Izard (to date the only woman to have won Top Chef). The chefs weigh in on a variety of subjects including how to promote themselves and grow their businesses via television and social media, and balancing 18-hour days and personal lives. But the biggest recurring issue they encounter is sexism, like the banker who won't give a chef-owner with a thriving restaurant a loan for a second place, the guys in the kitchen who verbally abuse and harass their female counterparts, and the pastry field, where many women end up and do spectacularly well, but are far less respected by awards outfits and restaurant critics. (Nov.)
Library Journal
After food journalist Druckman wrote the article "Why Are There No Great Women Chefs?" for food and culture journal Gastronomica, she was moved to further investigate the culinary gender gap in the United States. The answer to the question she poses is not that there are no great women chefs, but that most are unknown to the general public. Here she compiles the responses from interviews with 73 female chefs. They talk about what life is really like in the kitchen, the difficulties they face working in a male-dominated industry, and how they balance their demanding careers with motherhood, and offer advice for prospective chefs. Druckman also addresses the media's role in covering (or not covering) female chefs, how the industry has changed over the years, and where it is headed. VERDICT Chapters are broken down by topic and feature responses from multiple chefs, rather than presenting each chef's interview as a whole individually, which can be confusing and may prevent readers from connecting to the individual personalities. However, Druckman's book offers a different perspective and new insights than other available books about (primarily male) chefs. A valuable addition to food literature.—Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452107097
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
10/24/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
469,483
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly: In this well-researched book, food journalist Druckman explores what it's like for women in the very intense and sometimes glamorous restaurant industry as she interviews 75 female chefs and restaurant owners from around the country. Initially, the author's jokey asides seem distracting and the footnotes reminiscent of a term paper, but once the other voices are interspersed, hers becomes endearing and the footnotes useful sources of additional background, including what certain lingo like BOH (back of house) means. She speaks with such luminaries as Alice Waters and Lydia Shire as well as newbies Christina Tosi and Stephanie Izard (to date the only woman to have won Top Chef). The chefs weigh in on a variety of subjects including how to promote themselves and grow their businesses via television and social media, and balancing 18-hour days and personal lives. But the biggest recurring issue they encounter is sexism, like the banker who won't give a chef-owner with a thriving restaurant a loan for a second place, the guys in the kitchen who verbally abuse and harass their female counterparts, and the pastry field, where many women end up and do spectacularly well, but are far less respected by awards outfits and restaurant critics. (Nov.)

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Meet the Author

Charlotte Druckman is a journalist who writes for various publications including the New York Times T magazine, Travel + Leisure, and regular features for the Wall Street Journal. She is co-founder of Food52's Tournament of Cookbooks, and lives in New York City.

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