Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This kick-ass chef had a brilliant answer to the boring career-or-kids question

Dominique.jpg

As a chef on top of her game, officially one of the best in the world with a couple of restaurants and two Michelin stars, Dominique Crenn has no doubt dealt with her fair share of sexism from a male-dominated industry (not least having her success partly attributed to her looks and having “that French accent”).

So when a man asked her recently during an on-stage talk with three male chefs whether she’d sacrificed having a family in order to pursue her work, she wasn’t having any of it – and skewered him with a killer response, much to the delight of the audience.

Crenn, behind the renowned Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, was in conversation with fellow chefs Brett Graham (of The Ledbury in London), Peter Gilmore (Quay in Sydney) and Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana in Italy) at the Sydney Opera House for #50BestTalks, part of the celebrations around this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.

The chefs then started taking questions from the audience, and one man asked Crenn: “Did you have to choose between career and to be, something that I think is pretty important, and that is to be a mother of child?”

Eye-rolls all round.

dominique crenn sexist question

Crenn at the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards

Though the asker later said he didn’t intend to “be rude or intrude”, that’s obviously exactly what the question was: rude and intrusive (not to mention the needless addition of his own thoughts on the importance of becoming a mother).

Additionally, he assumed she must have decided not to have children to be so successful. Apart from the fact that his assumption completely ignores the myriad of reasons people haven’t had children, the French chef eloquently pointed out that babies aren’t necessarily a barrier to career success – by casually revealing she does in fact have twin daughters.

Replying, rather politely in the circumstances, with “That is loaded!” she went on to say: “If I want to be a mother, maybe I am, and you don’t know that. Maybe I am, and I am – I have two twin daughters […] God, this is again the same conversation ‘Oh you women, you have to make choices…’ Can’t we talk about something else?

“I appreciate what you are asking and I understand that, and I want you to really think about the question you asked me and I hope you can ask me another question right now.”

When he backpedalled, Crenn suggested if he’s also managed the “pretty important” feat of bearing offspring, that perhaps he’d like to consider his own position.

“You actually make choices in life, doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Family is something and also your passion is something, and you can mix both of it, and if you have kids I hope you stay home and let your wife go out there and be a badass woman, you know?”

Cue thunderous applause.


Read more: Surgeon reveals sexism in the workplace


Crenn, who also has Petit Crenn and a neighbouring wine bar in San Francisco, was crowned World’s Best Female Chef in 2016 by 50 Best, while Atelier Crenn is ranked 83 in this year’s list of the top 100 restaurants. Following a debate about whether having a separate award for women is a symptom of sexism in the industry, Crenn told The New York Times that she hoped her acceptance drew attention to the issue, saying: “I hope that award won’t exist in two years. But then I thought, ‘Am I going to fight it or am I going to do something with it?’”

However the same piece drew criticism for citing restaurant critic Michael Bauer’s thoughts on Crenn, who said, “She cooks the way the men are cooking” before adding “She has been successful because she does have talent, and she has worked hard.

“But let’s be honest, also because she has enormous charisma, she’s beautiful, and has that French accent.”

Yep, we find that definitely matters when we’re gorging on a delicious, precisely executed tasting menu. Sigh.

Images: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Related

Baby Dove Perfect Mum billboard image.jpg

This billboard of a “perfect mum” has sparked a major debate

rexfeatures_8556102c.jpg

“A step-by-step guide to sexism”: Lucy Mangan responds to ‘Legs-it’

women leadership qualities.jpg

Study concludes women are “better suited” to leadership than men

Comments

Latest...

It's now acceptable to have gin for breakfast (and here's why)

Fancy a G&T at 8am, anyone?

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

London's best pop-up bars for summer 2017

Sunset cocktail on the beach, anyone?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Jun 2017

Black coffee lovers, science says you're more likely to be psychopaths

“I take my coffee black – like my soul”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Jun 2017

All aboard! There's a gin train coming to town

Sate your wanderlust with a round-the-world ‘journey’

by Nicola Colyer
21 Jun 2017

Rosé wine (aka the best wine) is getting its own boozy summer festival

Prepare to get pink-wine paninied

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jun 2017

This £7.99 sparkling wine officially tastes as good as champagne

All the pizzazz for a slither of the price

by Anna Brech
21 Jun 2017

Got hay fever? Here's why a G&T should be your drink of choice

A cooling gin and tonic could help to curb a runny nose and sore eyes.

by Hayley Spencer
20 Jun 2017

Vegan Londoners are being treated to a meat-free burger bar next month

Not an animal product in sight at this fast-food joint

by Amy Swales
16 Jun 2017

Sacré bleu, we’re about to be hit by a croissant shortage

What is going to happen to our flaky pieces of joy?

by Jasmine Andersson
15 Jun 2017

The important thing to consider before buying alcoholic ice lollies

Police have issued a warning to everyone stocking up on prosecco popsicles

by Moya Crockett
15 Jun 2017