When asked about the lack of professional female chefs in an interview with the Radio Times, chef Monica Galetti attributes the gender gap to women choosing family over their careers.
Galetti says, “The problem is that at a certain point women have to decide how much they want their career versus having a family and spending time with family. That’s it. There’s no BS about it — the truth is, you’ve got to put it first to do well. I’ve seen many amazing chefs, girls, come into the kitchen and then give it up to be with their boyfriend."
Galetti describes her experience with this struggle firsthand, stating, “It hurt like hell to leave my partner out in New Zealand for two years, but I did.” She also claims to have put her career on hold for seven years in order to be a hands-on mother for her daughter.
Not all female chefs agree with Galetti’s views, and fear this kind of thinking will keep talented women from entering the industry. Emily Watkins, chef-patron of the award-winning Kingham Plough and mother of four, disagrees with Galetti and has shown that family and career don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Watkins tells The Guardian, “Although there are times when my husband would say that I’ve put my job before my family, I’m happy with my career. I don’t think I could put any more into it or take any more out of it. I always wanted to be a chef and I always wanted to be a mum, but the business was my baby and I’d never missed a serving.”