No, this isn’t another one of those posts about how the future of the industry will change because of the pandemic and social distancing. I’m about to talk about something a lot more important in my opinion.
That’s about black girls in fine dining, and the culinary industry. Because that’s an industry that really needs to change. Within minutes of me posting “A Story on Colour” onto twitter, I was scrolling through my feed and noticed that a few chefs I had followed liking a racist tweet about the Black Lives Matter protests. I’m not sure if I was surprised, I was definitely let down though. To see an exact example of what I was talking about be played out in front of me by one of the few people I follow on twitter was a bitterly ironic moment.
Maybe that was a good thing though, because that was what made me decide what I want to do next, and how I intend to move on. I want to see black girls in the industry feel safe, respected and valued. I want to see black girls decide to cook because they love it and want people to be happy, not because it’s expected of them or because they have something to prove.
While you could argue the Michelin star is obsolete, it’s still one of the most prestigious culinary rankings and it holds a lot of weight in the industry. And guess what? There’s only one black female chef with a star, and she got it in 2019. There’s so much work to be done. If you honestly believe that she is the only black woman deserving of a star, then you need to rethink your belief because it’s not true.
In the future, I see fine dining as a more open welcoming place. No more of the super elite, forced jacket wearing and front of house staff looking at you weirdly because you’re a person of colour and clearly don’t deserve to be in such an institution. I see fine dining as exactly what the phrase is. Good, well prepared food.
I see a whole new generation of black girls who are going to shake up the entire industry and show everyone what it means to be a chef. I see a current generation of black women already in the industry making big waves and showing everyone what it means to be a chef. I reckon I fit into the second category because I’ve been in the industry two years but at the same time, I just turned 20 and don’t feel that “grown” yet. I’m sure reality will hit once I finish uni.
To the black girls reading this, keep cooking. It’s your time and we’re so excited to see what you can do.