Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Grease Trap: Rising Star List Reveals Restaurants' Stainless Steel Ceiling

By John Birdsall
Wed, Mar 7, 2007 at 12:03 AM

The Chron's annual roster of Rising Star Chefs is conspicuously drenched in testosterone: it's all about men. Okay so there's one woman on the list -- Salt House pastry chef Jennifer Kenny Nguyen. But notice that little p-word before "chef" in Nguyen's title. The four guys on the list are full-blown chefs or executive chefs, all in positions of power (no doubt with salaries to match) that go far beyond deciding what sorbet to make. Don't get us wrong, we're not blaming the Chron, or the talented guys who made the cut. This problem's all on the restaurant biz. For whatever reasons, women simply aren't rising to the level of exec chef at the same rate as men -- call it the stainless steel ceiling. Pastry departments and restaurant line salad stations are traditionally the places where female chefs settle. We once worked in a prominent SF kitchen where a running joke posited that the salad station was strictly for women and "effeminates" (gay guys, in the macho-speak of the cooks on the grill and sauté stations). That was fifteen years ago. Sadly, it seems that not a lot has changed. What's up with that, Bay Area?

Maybe That's Why the Carpet Smells so Bad

Beer writer Bill Brand turns Trib readers on to a Web site that helps pint jockeys avoid driving their cars while under the influence of a couple-three IPAs. Beer by BART lists beer pubs within lurching distance of various stations (e.g., Berkeley BART: Jupiter, Triple Rock, etc.). Cool. Except maybe for BART janitors, tasked with daubing the upholstery in cars packed with beer bladders.

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