TIME Announces 'Gods of Food,' Bypasses Goddesses
Marker of influence TIME magazine has released an issue proclaiming "The Gods of Food" in the international edition, and the gods, it seems, are all men. Three well-known faces grace the cover: David Chang, René Redzepi, and Alex Atala. Inside, 13 "Gods of Food" are named including Dan Barber, Albert Adrià, and Michael Pollan, but any chef without a Y chromosome seems to be missing.
Many publications have already picked up on the lack of women in the issue; Pete Wells tweeted, "These Gods 'have transformed the image of the chef from distant aesthete to in-your-face dude.' Women need not apply."
Granted, four women are mentioned in the issue, but not chefs: Amrita Patel, chairman of India's National Dairy Development Board; Vandana Shiva, activist; Ertharin Cousin, head of the UN World Food Programme; and Aida Batlle, a star of the third-wave coffee movement. Two female pastry chefs are covered in a sidebar.
Few women are mentioned in the issue overall, Grub Street points out, even when the TIME 100 chart tracked the influences of their food gods. "It's the scope of TIME's coverage that makes the larger exclusion of female chefs even more noticeable... in a TIME 100 chart posted today that tracks 'a few major lineages of the minds melding over the food you dine out on,' it seems not a single woman is mentioned among the nearly 60 male chefs that are listed," Alan Systma writes.
TIME editor Howard Chua-Eoan spoke to Eater about the lack of women, saying that "it reflects one very harsh reality of the current chefs' world... it's still a boys club." And while Elena Arzak, Dominique Crenn, Alice Waters, or Clare Smyth are all "wonderful" women, as he says, Barbara Lynch, for example doesn't have that "cultural influence that David Chang has." Waters, despite her impressive career (and locavore O.G. status), failed to make the cut because she "retains a lot of loyalty, the people who work in her kitchens stay. There are a couple of big names who came out her kitchen, April [Bloomfield] and Dan Barber, I think, but otherwise the tree was sort of thin."
Perhaps even more infuriating is Chua-Eoan's inability to pinpoint what exactly disqualified some women as being goddesses, other than their lack of "reputation and influence." In one paragraph, he says, "Men still take care of themselves. The women really need someone — if not men, themselves actually — to sort of take care of each other." In the same graph, he contradicts himself, saying, "It's unfortunate, the women who are there are very good, but very few of them actually benefitted from the boys' club, as you can see from the chart."
And while Chua-Eoan staunchly proclaims that "there was no attempt to exclude women," as Willy Blackmore at TakePart.com points out, "The status quo rarely does require effort, now does it?" Read the full interview over at Eater.