Female restauranteurs are beating the recession, odds, eggs. (Sorry.)
If executive women face challenges in the corporate world, these female culinary go-getters take even more heat. Restaurant kitchens, where every chef must train, are still male-dominated boot camps that often tolerate (or encourage) harassment and ridicule. Raising capital is tough in a world where financial networking is still very much a man's game. And dilemmas about family-work balance are especially frustrating, since a chef's schedule can be grueling and unpredictable.
Which goes some way towards explaining the low numbers of women in the restaurant field (besides pastry, with its more accomodating schedule), and the determination necessary for a female restauranteur to buck the trend - especially in this economy. Vets like Tracy Des Jardins, owner of a mini-empire in San Francisco, are rare, but for the past few years chef-owners like Gabrielle Hamilton, Michelle Bernstein and Anita Low have helped to define the recent trend in restaurants - small, local, perfectly achieved - which seems best poised to weather the recession. And new ventures by April Bloomfield and Sara Jenkins are among the most successful in a rough year for New York restaurants. Suggests Mary Sue Milliken, "But maybe from managing households and so forth, women manage better and know how to stretch resources."
How Women Are Heating Up The Restaurant World [Forbes]