So, I've worked in a few kitchens. I've worked in a celebrity chef's kitchen. I worked in a small local spot in town. I decided to explore working the back of the house in a locally run restaurant. I am choosing not to name the restaurant, but, I can say that it did close and recently re-open with the same name and a new menu that features an american 'pub' style feel and margaritas. There were several listings for jobs at this restaurant and I thought it would be nice to continue to work and learn in a smaller kitchen.
I got the restaurant owner on the phone. I was told, point blank, that "I don't normally hire women. There is a lot of work in a kitchen." I stuttered a bit, said ok, but then noted that his wife runs both kitchens. Who, may I ask, gave her a start?! I was then told that he "might consider a woman if they had ten years of experience." I was then asked my age.
I did sit down with the business owner and had a pleasant, yet slightly odd conversation. He told me that he runs restaurants with a high attention to detail. This all being said as I glanced down and handed him an oyster fork that was in his place setting instead of a salad fork. I told him I was determined, would work the long hours and didn't mind taking next to nothing in pay to learn. After a week of not returning messages I was told he hired someone with more experience. However, there are still multiple job postings for the same restaurants and position.
I decided to ask my friends who work in a variety of restaurants in the city (some owners, some executive and sous chefs and others are waitstaff) to find out if this is a common trend. Consistently, I have been told this is not a regular practice.
Shame on this business owner and his practices. I have been clear that I will steer any aspiring females away from his restaurant. I can't believe that one local business owner would treat an aspiring local this way, just because I am female.