10 Chefs, Brewmasters & Sommeliers Talk Sexism in the Industry

From sexual harassment to glass ceilings, sexism in the restaurant world comes in many shades and types. Women from across the country share their stories

sexism in food industry: 10 women talk sexism in the food industry

(Design: Leo Tapel)

This month, Toronto will host two awesome women-focused food events: The Dinner Party, hosted by The Drake, and Chatelaine’s The Big Dish, a day-long gathering featuring incredible female talent in the Canadian hospitality industry.

In recent years, women-focused groups and events for food- and drink-obsessives have been popping up across the country, including the Pink Boots Society (for lady beer lovers, with chapters in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto) and Women Who Whiskey (a women-only whiskey appreciation group with chapters in Toronto and Waterloo). And in 2015, Jen Agg, Toronto restaurateur and author of I Hear She’s a Real Bitch, spearheaded an event called Kitchen Bitches: Smashing the Patriarchy One Plate at a Time in response to allegations of “rampant” and “unrelenting” sexual harassment and abuse at a trendy downtown Toronto restaurant.

While some of these initiatives address sexism and harassment head on, others are creating safe and inclusive places for women to celebrate passions that are traditionally male-dominated. But there’s still more work to be done.

FLARE spoke to 10 diverse women in hospitality to learn more about their experiences with sexism and racism in bars and kitchens across Canada—and what they’re doing to help fellow female colleagues thrive. Their stories range from blatant examples of sexism to less overt instances, but they have one thing in common: these are all women who love their work and won’t let industry misogyny stop them.


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