At the beginning of February, the complaint of the pastry chef Trinidad Benedetti against the renowned chef Paul massey it generated a cascade effect in the environment. Immediately, dozens of voices – some anonymous and others known in the artistic world and also in the gastronomic world – gave support to his words, thus uncovering a Pandora’s box that goes far beyond this specific case. It has to do with a way of handling in the kitchen to which women today say, loudly: Enough!.
One of those voices was that of Narda Lepes, one of the most recognized chefs in the country, who empathized with the young woman with a post on her Instagram. “Many of us go through uncomfortable situations at work, some more serious and violent than others”, began on his Instagram account, and continued: “It is necessary –and urgent– create a clear communication system in kitchens and restaurants that establishes limits and safe routes, to be able to tell what happens to us. If you are a gastronomic, help your colleagues, because silence is also an accomplice “. Among the thousands of endorsements of his post was that of the renowned chef German Martitegui, popular beyond the gastronomic environment for his work as a jury in Masterchef Celebrity.
Little more than a month passed and Narda spoke again on the subject. Did it with Catherine Dlugi in Hold on Catalina (La Eleven Diez) and delved into some of those uncomfortable situations that he had mentioned in his post. “They touched my ass a thousand times, they support you, they lock you in the camera “, said the cook, who emphasized in cases of psychological and labor abuse: “The worst thing is that they don’t listen to you, that the credit for your idea goes to someone else, that they don’t give you room to grow. There is a lot to do in that sense ”, he analyzed.
During his story, Lepes told a personal fact that confirms the macho logic that always reigned in the gastronomic environment. “As I am a bit of a beast to talk, they told me ‘Narda is another kid’, and at the time it seemed cool to me, it was like I felt part of the club”, said the cook and related how she sees it from today. “It wasn’t good, but when I was younger I didn’t realize that. I liked being accepted. Now I see it and I don’t want it ”.
“They were despising your gender”, the driver intervened, but Narda replied that at that time her logic of thought was different: “All the ways we have now, at least twenty years ago were not accessible. At that time I did not think so, I did not have the tools “, continued the cook who rejected the comparison with male harassment. “When fear is part of the equation it changes and for women in many cases it is like that. I send you to shit today and 25 years ago, but because I was raised like that, to respond. When a girl has a more withdrawn personality, there the equation is disproportionate ”.
Lepes, who was chosen as the best chef in Latin America, announced that chefs are beginning to organize themselves to prevent these situations from happening again. In his place, for example, he enlarged the spaces in the kitchen to avoid friction. “A series of rules must be proposed so that work teams are warned and a woman who suffers this type of situation does not have to leave where she works. The important thing is not to get to that point ”, he closed.
A few weeks ago, another media cook, Felicitas Pizarro, was manifested in terms similar to those of Lepes. Also in dialogue with Dlugi, the jury of The great prize of the kitchen (El Trece) pointed out that “in the kitchens machismo is in constant boil, perhaps in recent times it has been diminishing it also depends a lot on the woman, on how you stand in the kitchen.
Felicitas admitted that within the gastronomic environment women are still referred to as the weaker sex. “To get to make the main dishes or the fires, the woman had to show that she was going to be banned much more than the men”, compared, and recalled an experience in a restaurant: “I don’t know whether to call it harassment, but I do feel that bullying for being a woman: in a job there was a grill man who wouldn’t let me be on the grill, I wanted to agree to learn from him and I heard him say from behind me, ‘This is not here It lasts not a week ‘… comments like that, and I went home in anguish “, he detailed.
After Trinidad’s complaint, another of the voices that was added was that of Valu Ramallo, pastry chef and conductor Cucinare, for The thirteen. “I suffered a lot of things in the kitchens”he said, in dialogue with Teleshow. After clarifying that he did not work or know Pablo Massey, considered that gastronomy is an area where “There were always macho jokes with double meaning”.
“I have always worked with many men: you have a good relationship, but you have to make a comment about your skirt or tight jean. It was uncomfortable and normal, all women had them: ugly and sexist jokes that make you feel uncomfortable”Added Ramallo, who, like Lepes and Pizarro, does not specifically target Massey or his workplace, but rather reflects a general situation that cries out for urgent change.