KitchenAid Documentary Highlights Issues Facing Female Chefs

KitchenAid
From left: Karyn Tomlinson, Etana Diaz and Marielle Fabie.

KitchenAid has launched a documentary that looks at the inequalities and challenges facing women who enter the culinary profession.

Directed by Academy Award Winner Rayka Zehtabchi, the 30-minute film A Woman’s Place shares the stories of three chefs who are working to change an industry that is largely male-dominated. 

“Over the last century, women, despite their incredible contributions, have struggled to make it in professional kitchens — held back by inequalities unfairly put upon them,” said Rob Sundy, Head of Brand Marketing & Creative Studios at Whirlpool Corporation, the parent company of the KitchenAid brand. “As a brand built by women and that stands for creating possibility in the kitchen, we can’t stand for inequalities any longer. And now as restaurants fight to reopen after a terrible pandemic forced their doors shut, they need our support more than ever.”

Streaming exclusively on Hulu, subscribers can visit the “Women’s Equality” collection on the platform to watch the film alongside a collection of more than 50 TV shows and movies that honor diverse women trailblazers in their field and reflect on progress made in the fight for equality for all women.

A unique partnership with the James Beard Foundation (JBF) complements the film’s launch through a custom mentorship program, presented by KitchenAid, developed to advance women in culinary arts and support the industry at large as it rebuilds.

The three chefs following in the documentary are: 

  • Marielle Fabie, who grew up always lending a hand in the kitchen — whether it was helping her single mother cook for the family or helping her dad run his food truck — yet faced a double standard from her family, refusing to see cooking as anything but a hobby when she showed interest in culinary school. The disadvantages Marielle experienced as a woman of color have only fueled her ambition; she works tirelessly to be the best at what she does. Today, her success has finally proven to her parents that cooking is a viable and sustainable career for women.
  • Etana Diaz, who began her career as a pastry chef and a line cook in fine dining, but found her true love for butchery after discovering that pastry wasn’t her passion. Etana proves that her dedication and drive outweigh her size and gender. She approaches meat cutting with creativity, ethics and knowledge and is proud to be a “Lady Butcher.”
  • Karyn Tomlinson, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in France, and on her first day on the job was told to go to the front of house for service. While her interest was in savory cuisine, she began working her way up through opportunities in pastry where she grew creatively. None of it discouraged her from pursuing her dream of becoming a head chef, and eventually, she found herself at the helm of a kitchen. In 2018 she became the first solo woman to win Grand Cochon, a national whole hog cook-off. Today, she faces new challenges as she embarks on the complex process of opening Myriel, her first restaurant, during a pandemic.

KitchenAid’s effort to highlight the challenges facing women in the culinary world is also drawing support from celebrity chefs including Dominique Crenn and Kristen Kish.

“I was thrilled to hear KitchenAid was working to expose and drive greater awareness of the disparities happening in kitchens,” said Crenn, chef of Atelier Crenn and the only female Three Michelin star recipient in the United States. “I’ve been lucky to receive ‘best female chef’ awards and always wondered why I can’t just be the best chef? I am fully behind this initiative and hope my industry peers share their support as well.”

Tish, the winner of Season 10 on Bravo’s Top Chef, added, “Equality is something I advocate for in all aspects of my life, and the kitchen is no exception. I’m proud to stand with KitchenAid and my culinary peers to shed light on this issue and inspire a new era for our industry, void of bias, sexism and harassment.”

To learn more about the program and how to support female culinary professionals visit kitchenaid.com/awomansplace.html.