Quoted: Lidia Bastianich on “Is it difficult to be a woman in the kitchen?”

Welcome to my new favorite thing: a weekly quote from an interview that’s stuck with me; that’s resonated on a personal note; that’s made me super-excited by the people I get to meet and the stories I get to tell. This quote comes from Lidia Bastianich’s Keynote opening address at the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference last month. Cheers.

Photo Courtesy Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference

Photo Courtesy Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference

 Is it difficult to be a woman in the kitchen?

“I guess it is, but I never looked at it that way.

I looked at this as my career: Why am I here? Am I prepared to do well? That was always my model.

If you take and invest in and plan for yourself, if you educate yourself well and continue to educate yourself through your career, always growing and being close to those who you admire in your early stages… all of those become layers of your profile. Where you are and who you want to be in this industry will come to you. Then you need to be true to that person.

I came here as an immigrant from Italy at 12 years old. My “women’s factors” are the greatness of Italian food, the simplicity, the deliciousness, and the products. From America – my adopted family – I got an education, marketing, and business. Those together make me who I am.  I’ve never forgotten my roots or the message of wanting to bring Italian food to Americans. There are so many things that can sway you, but I knew where I was going. I knew if I’m going to bring the Italian culture to America through my restaurants, my books, and television, I have a great responsibility of it being the right message, so I’m continually going back and educating myself in Italy.

You owe it to yourself to build yourself up – educate, continue, be proud, and then go into that kitchen or interview with knowledge in your hands. You will win them over. That’s the strongest part of being a woman – being a true professional.”

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