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Tips for women considering a career as a chef

Being Women’s Month, the team at Big Easy Winebar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els took a look at how female chefs coped in today’s hospitality industry.

The days of male-dominated kitchens are definitely a thing of the past, as women increasingly make their presence felt. The ratio of male and female chefs in the Big Easy Durban kitchen has changed in recent years, with the kitchen now being female dominated. Out of 13 individuals in the kitchen, there are 9 females.

The numbers of successful women making their mark in the hospitality industry and being role models for other female chefs are also increasing as they gain the spotlight. Those receiving accolades in this country include; Siba Mtongana, Jenny Morris and the well-known Jackie Cameron (previously of Hartford House who now runs her own School of Food & Wine in Hilton).

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Luckily, today’s generation of female chefs are encountering less discrimination from their male colleagues than before. Their challenges are more an inner struggle, in juggling the tasks of being a chef, a Mum and the need to improve and gain recognition. For single Mums, managing family responsibilities with the demanding hours of a restaurant career, requires good support system at home.

The female chefs on the Big Easy Durban team got together and came up with ten tips for women considering a career as a chef:

  • Believe in yourself and don’t get put into a box.
  • Never doubt your abilities.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • See the opportunity in criticism.
  • Don’t develop an ego.
  • Work with passion.
  • Do not give up.
  • Get used to working under pressure; it’s the nature of the game.
  • This is not a job, it’s a way of life and it requires dedication!
  • Stay calm it helps you cope with the challenges.
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