More than a hundred professionals, representing many others, met yesterday in Valencia to boost the visibility of women in gastronomy in Spain. The meeting was attended by cooks, sommeliers, producers, scientists, journalists, businesswomen and event and congress organizers, among other labor profiles, who have agreed on the first measures.
These measures include the creation of the first complete and updated database of women in gastronomy; create work groups by professional specialties and territorial areas, as well as launch a brand image to communicate all events, news, research or aspects of interest in which they participate.
The aim is to make visible the enormous creative talent in an area of equality and, in addition, to create a space for networking, collaboration and synergies that can promote new business, academic or scientific projects.
The chefs get greater public recognition and funding for their projects, according to this study, although there are no differences between men and women in high cuisine when it comes to comparing skills or competencies. Conciliation is the main obstacle for them.
One of the chefs who has claimed more presence for women in the congresses and events of the sector has been María José San Román, at the head of the Monastrell restaurant, with a Michelin star and one of the architects of this protest meeting: “We are many and we also have the support of María José San Román, al frente del restaurante Monastrell, con una estrella Michelin y una de las artífices de este encuentro reivindicativo: “Somos muchas y contamos también con el apoyo de Carme Ruscalleda; Elena Arzak, Fina Puigdevall, Susi Díaz, Macarena De Castro, Esther Manzano, Mari Carmen Velez or Beatriz Sotelo, among others. Invisibility is rooted and invisible talent discourages future generations. It is a worldwide problem whose change we can lead from Spain. ”
Analyzed the problem of invisibility, some of the contributions to combat it are the promotion of corporatism and the creation of a support network among its members that also values even more ignored works, such as shellfish, canning and the set of women with productions as small as valuable.
Different participants have recounted their repeated experience as sole participants in events where most speakers were men, a fact that they have defined as “the invisibility of invisibility.” In this sense, Silvia García, sommelier and head of Mugaritz, said that “perhaps the worst is the invisibility of female invisibility. Nobody realizes that we are invisible, it seems normal. ”
For this reason, one of the conclusions of the meeting has been to ask fellow chefs to reconsider their participation in projects where no more than half of society is represented
The conclusions also include the need to create a network that helps women in gastronomy boost their personal brand to break glass ceilings, as well as encourage participation in competitions in which until now there is little female presence, for what has been described as the “cement roof”, a level of self-demand that prevents them from standing out. Begoña Rodrigo, cook of ‘La Salita’, in Valencia, has encouraged everyone to face new challenges: “Fear paralyzes us and so we don’t move forward. High cuisine has its rules and you take it and you go for it all, or you leave it. ”
In addition, other lines of action have been addressed, such as seeking channels to receive complaints and acting in cases of workplace harassment or encouraging mentoring so that women with extensive experience can advise and promote the talent and initiatives of new entrepreneurs. Guillermina Bravo, editor of Montagud, stressed that “we cannot wait for society to change. We have to lead the change. ”
In addition, Julia Pérez Lozano, director of GastroActitud, has announced that a study on the situation of women in Spanish gastronomy will be carried out with the support and collaboration of Ferran Adriá and within the framework of the future bets of Bullipedia and Bulli Foundation .
“We have been 20 years late, but now is our time,” said Rebeca Hernández, chef of the restaurant ‘La Berenjena’, in Madrid.
Mujeres en gastronomía was born in Valencia as an ambitious movement, with national and international vocation and several milestones in the calendar next year. In this sense, several forums have been proposed to hold new meetings and continue a whole work strategy until the end of 2018 and throughout 2019.
Among the upcoming appointments, the Hospitality Innovation Planet (HIP), congress, whose director Eva Ballarín, has offered a new meeting point for the month of February. Also the director of San Sebastián Gastronomika, offered a space for debate within the 2019 congress so that a new meeting of this forum is organized, taking advantage that the celebration will coincide with the first anniversary of the birth of the women’s gastronomic meeting.