Four Ann Arbor chefs speak on the barriers to women in the restaurant industry at the upcoming event

ANN ARBOR, MI – Four Ann Arbor chefs are part of an upcoming event dedicated to breaking barriers in the restaurant industry.

The event at the Michigan Theater is part of Toyota’s Women’s Voices series based on the film Her Name is Chef, in which six women immerse themselves in the changing culture of the restaurant industry. It practically starts on Monday March 29th at 7pm.

Guests include Abby Olitzky from Spencer, Allie Lyttle from LaLas Ann Arbor, Ji Hye Kim from Miss Kim and Eve Aronoff from Frita Batidos.

Register here. There will also be a question and answer session.

Kim, who opened Miss Kim in 2016, said the industry was changing but noted that her managerial, kitchen, and bartending roles have often been male dominated while women include server roles.

“In the kitchen there is an attitude that what happens in the kitchen is different from what happens in front. You can be a little more inappropriate, you can be louder, you can curse and things like that, ”Kim said. “I’ve worked in kitchens that are all about men and the sexual jokes, the racist jokes, the harassment jokes. It can be very common in kitchens. “

When you speak out against it, other women can sometimes perceive them as “sensitive,” Kim said.

“I think these are more egregious cases, but even in kitchens that are friendlier you can see them manifest in different ways,” Kim said, adding that some stations like the grill are considered “better for men “were viewed while women were walking around the pantry, which can be salads, desserts, or oysters.

Kim was exposed to sexism and harassment as a young waiter, often from chefs yelling at her, she said. However, kitchen culture can depend heavily on who sits on top management and how much they care about equity and inclusion, she said.

Since opening her restaurant, her goal has been to create a safe environment for her employees, including no inappropriate jokes and a rule against speaking accents other than her own. Kim also wants to make sure her employees are getting a living wage and good health care.

Its staff consists of two female line cooks and a male preparation cook in the morning, male cooks in the evening, a male and a female manager, a black supervisor and an Asian-American woman at the helm.

She advises young aspiring cooks to ensure they find a good environment in which management “asks for your service” rather than asking about the job. She also warns future chefs to understand that not everything will be perfect in the rooms they enter.

“You don’t want to get drawn into a bad environment and then change the environment because I think that is going to be very harmful and people change if they want to change,” said Kim. “That would take the focus away from you, your career and your dreams. I would choose a restaurant based on its food and reputation and how they treat their staff … stand up for yourself. “

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