Publication Date

5-2009

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Joan Krenzin (Director),Dr. Stephen Groce,Dr. Kristi Branham

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Abstract

The primary purpose of this research was to examine a group of fourteen chefs, half male and half female, to determine the differences in the way male and female chefs do their job. To get an understanding of the perceptions of the chefs I conducted in-depth interviews with seven male chefs and seven female chefs. Definite differences were found in the way the chefs perceived their roles in the kitchen as well as how they managed their kitchens as a whole. Female chefs tended to manage their kitchens more collaboratively, thus creating and fostering a less emotional environment. Lack of emotionality in the kitchen is valuable in order to keep the staff performing optimally and to reduce disruptions during service. Female chefs were also greatly interested in creating an overall emotional experience for both their employees and the diners at their restaurants. Women seemed to appreciate fundamental social interactions they experienced as part of being a chef. The women discussed working on their own emotions as a way to keep the kitchen on an even keel. Men, on the other hand, tended to expect employees to control their own emotions and discussed controlling their employees, which reflected a more hierarchical approach to their managerial style. Male chefs were more concerned with their image as chefs and how people perceived their food rather than cultivating a particular environment for the diners.

Both male and female chefs believed their approaches were effective in managing the kitchen. In a male-dominated profession that is traditionally masculinized, female chefs did not have to run their kitchens in a fashion similar to men; rather they tended to work in collaborative terms congruent with the expectations of the female gender role. Because the women worked in a more communal fashion, they relied more heavily on emotional labor to support and motivate their employees. Male chefs expected their employees to be responsible for their own behavior and tended to suggest separation from their employees rather than exhibiting an empathetic approach to their managerial styles.

Disciplines

Gender and Sexuality | Sociology