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No Skirting Around the Issue

Oct 20, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose

skirt steak_CVR.jpg

Anthony Bordain was the first chef tell-all (or should I say tell too much) as he took us behind the scenes in his outrageous book Kitchen Confidential.

Women chefs also have a strong voice and stories to tell. Gifted food journalist Charlotte Druckman is the first to have captured their essence in her new book appropriately named Skirt Steak Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen, Chronicle Books.

This is a subject particularly dear to my heart because my mother, over 75 years ago, was the only woman in the entire dental school. Her aunt before her was also a dentist, but when I wanted to study food in the '60s I had to go to university as women were not admitted to culinary schools such as the Culinary Institute of America.

Things have changed greatly (though not enough) in recent years both in and out of the kitchen. Charlotte Druckman takes us into the world of 70 of today's top women chefs, including Alice Waters, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Lydia Bastianich. Their stories, their experiences, and their points of view are eye-opening and informative. Skirt Steak is a must for any woman who hears the siren call of chefdom. It is also a fascinating read for anyone who has ever wondered what it's like behind the scenes of the neatly laid tables of what formerly was, and in many ways still is, very much a male chef's world.


Gary Dubester
Gary Dubester
10/22/2012 10:17 AM

I am a dentist who graduated from dental school in 1981 and I recall a rather harsh prejudice against the women in my class. There were few women accepted into my class and they were dismissed by many faculty members as being inferior to men and inherently less capable as dentists. They were even discouraged from completing school. Today, this prejudice is diminished, but to some degree still remains. I had no idea that this prejudice against women extended to culinary school. In any case, for all those women who have overcome these prejudicial attitudes, you have my respect and admiration.


jennifer, i loved that book! thanks for mentioning this.


Jennifer Jolis
Jennifer Jolis
10/21/2012 03:36 PM

Can I recommend Walking on Walnuts--I think its combination of horror stories (and successes) written by a woman striving to become a pastry chef in New York 15 years or so ago, her memories of a Jewish grandmother's baking, and her recipes will be a pleasure to read and cherish.



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