Monday, March 9, 2020

Women's History Month

Saluting a Culinary Pioneer

Eugénie Brazier, known as "la mère Brazier", (12 June 1895 – 2 March 1977) was a French chef who, in 1933, became the first person to attain a total of six Michelin stars, three each at two restaurants: La Mère Brazier on Rue Royale, one of the main streets of Lyon, and a second, also called La Mère Brazier, in the Alpine foothills at Col de la Luère. She was also the first woman to earn three Michelin stars. 

“Mere", the French word for “mother”, was an honorary title given to talented female professional cooks in France during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Her cooking attracted celebrities like Marlene Dietrich and Charles de Gaulle, but unlike her male peers, she never wanted to be considered a celebrity chef. Brazier began working on a cookbook two years before she died in 1977, but never finished it. La Mere Brazier: The Mother of Modern French Cooking was finally printed in 2009 with the help of her family.

From Eater:

Looking back, it now seems like the 1930s were a far more tolerant time for women in Michelin history. Just one generation later, the man who would become the king of French cuisine, Paul Bocuse, would famously say during an interview in the 1970s that he would rather have a woman in his bed than behind the stove in his restaurant. That sentiment ushered in a period of skepticism toward women chefs that is still with us (if you think cutting women out of history is a problem of the past, just consider contemporary restaurant rankings of today). The Michelin guide followed Bocuse’s lead, and 50 years would pass before another woman (Anne-Sophie Pic) received the three-star honor.

Now is the time to study Culilnary Arts!

Now is a great time for women to study Culinary Arts. 

Consider this: less than 7% of Executive Chefs at leading culinary institutions are women. 

The field is wide open! The opportunities are endless!

Consider these statistics gathered in 2016:

  • More than 50% of culinary school graduates are women
  • 59% of food prep workers in the US are women
  • 19% of chefs and head cooks are women
  • Female Executive Chefs earn on average $20,000 less than their male counterparts.

Eater: website
Starchefs: website
WCR - Women Chefs & Restaurateurs: website
The Independent: website
The 50 Best: website