Quoted: Chef Sarah Simmons on Promoting Female Talent

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 Chef Sarah Simmons – one of my favorite badass, kickass, make-it-happen women in the world, who teaches me constantly about overcoming self-doubt and creating opportunities for self and others in the world. Recently, I covered the  Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference for the Village Voice and Plate magazine. Here’s one of my favorite bits from Sarah. Cheers.

© 2013 Brent Herrig Photography

© 2013 Brent Herrig Photography

Question: What can women do to level the playing field in the restaurant industry?

“There are two issues. First, we talk about how there are not enough women chefs. Women chefs need to hire women chefs, to hire female cooks and give them opportunities. That’s not to say you should only hire female cooks, but we should actively seek female cooks and turn them into chefs in our own kitchens. In that way, we’re creating more female chefs out in the market.

Secondly, I think a big difference between men and women I’ve interviewed for management positions is that women don’t ask for what they want or sell themselves, while the men have no problem talking about themselves and asking for what they want. So a lot of times when women complain to me that they’re not paid what they’re worth or aren’t getting what they want, my first question is, “Well, did you ask for that?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. So women need to be better at marketing themselves and asking for what they want.”

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