Marco Pierre White criticised for ‘sexist’ comments

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Questionable opinion: chefs react to Marco Pierre White’s comments on women in kitchens
Questionable opinion: chefs react to Marco Pierre White’s comments on women in kitchens
Pub chefs and industry professionals have lambasted Marco Pierre White’s recent comments on women in hospitality kitchens.

The Irish Independent ​reported White said men can absorb pressures better in the kitchen because they aren’t emotional and don’t take things personally.

He also said men were physically stronger, however, White did praise women for having a better palate and for being more consistent with presentation in the kitchen.

Head chef at London’s Harwood Arms in Fulham, Sally Abé told The Morning Advertiser​’s sister publication Big Hospitality​: “For me, it’s not about sex, it’s about people.

“It’s not about looking at someone with preconceptions of what they can and can’t do, it’s giving them a chance and letting them prove themselves.

“That’s what I’ve always done, work hard and you will be successful regardless of gender.”

Asking for help

Stosie Madi, chef-patron of the Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire, has been in kitchens for more than 20 years and didn’t agree with White’s comments.

She said: “I know, physically, some of the work can be very taxing like carrying the biggest, heaviest stock pan but that's taxing for anyone whether you're a big, strapping bloke or just a normal woman and there's nothing wrong with asking for help so that shouldn't be a put off. It can be difficult for a very slight woman but most women don't give in and will give it their best.

“Emotional pressure is equal for men and women, it's just that women dissolve it differently whereas men try to put on a brave face and take it out the stress on everyone else. Women will try and diffuse it by asking for help and wouldn't take it out on their colleagues.

“There's always pressure and, in the modern day age, that statement is not so relevant. It is an equal thing between men and women with emotions.”

Donna Berry, chef-patron of the Swan in Bampton, Devon, has changed her view on White in recent years.

More emotional

She said: “I used to really quite like him but he’s lost it over the years. He’s arrogant – maybe with every right to be.

“He hasn’t worked with some of the blokes I’ve worked with over the years [who are] much more emotional than women.

“The women who do stick it out in the kitchen are made of much sterner stuff. We don’t go to pieces when all the checks come on at once, we just work our way through and get there in the end. There’s no point in having a hissy fit.

“As for taking it personally, yes I bloody well do. Every dish I send out, I want to be right and not only do I carry big saucepans, I move full barrels around in the cellar as well.”

Neil Rankin, chef and founder of Temper, took to Instagram to voice his frustrations with White’s comments.

He said: “The only real difference between men and women in the kitchen is men don’t have to put up with this nauseating, baseless, antiquated b******t every day.

“Women not only have to do the same exact job in every area of hospitality but also have had to contend with every obsessive jibe in the book from day one and not only from their colleagues but from industry leaders like in in 2019, FFS.

“Frankly I don’t think men could handle this b******t every day. I think they’d crumble under the pressure.”

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