Document Type

Honors Thesis


Although the foodservice industry creates livelihood for Americans of all genders, races, age, and backgrounds, conflict arises as language, media, and the established masculine kitchen culture continue to reinforce traditional gender roles. Aside from the common difficulties in kitchen workplaces, women chefs surveyed emphasize the discrimination felt in regard to their recognition, compensation, and support. Many writers and chefs discuss how the foodserivce industry claims gender no longer impacts one’s success, but fail to recognize the subliminal ways gender roles impact the workplace. Research shows women remain in all areas of the food industry despite the challenges of the environment, although they commonly make sacrifices to become “one of the guys” or find alternate career paths in order to succeed. Baking and pastry work appears as one of these additional workplaces where women dominate, although the 2010 StarChefs Salary Report states that male pastry chefs still recieve 27% more pay than their female equivalents. How the baking and pastry industry has become a positive environment for many women chefs despite the historical marginalization of women who cultivate these positions has yet to be established. This thesis examines the genderization of food and the workplace by analyzing professional cooking interests, work ethics, management styles, and conflicts of work/life balance, sexual harassment, and discrimination. It also provides careful analysis of the experiences and observations from women and men currently working in various positions within the baking and pastry industry. These interviews present defined thoughts and understandings of gender held by pastry chefs and bakers as compared to the highly researched culinary workplace and restaurant cultures. Identifying reasons women may feel more comfortable within pastry work provides insight for how the industry is changing to become more inclusive and supportive for all culinary professionals.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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