When Melissa Buote contacted me and said she was 'working on an issue for The Coast on women working in the food industry in Halifax', I had no idea that the intent was to include me in a list of 28 movers and shakers in the Halifax food scene. I was blown away when I saw the online edition this morning.
This time last year, Time published a cover feature titled Gods of Food that came under major fire, and rightly so, for its serious lack of women. It's "pantheon" listed 13 "gods," nine of which were men or groups of men, and its international chef family tree was 100 percent pure dude.
In response, Eater interviewed Time editor Howard Chua-Eoan, who defended the magazine's choices by saying bumbling things like, "we just went with the basic realities of what was going on and who was being talked about," and "we did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef," and then "the media covers the industry. I don't think the media has to advocate for anything."
So, if the media isn't advocating for anything or anyone, what are we doing?
Yes, there's been a longstanding gender bias in the world of food and drink, but when Melissa Buote and I started thinking about what it would look like if we were going to report the "basic realities of what's going on" in Halifax's food industry we came up with the idea for this feature. We started making a list of pioneers, ambassadors and newcomers—owners, chefs, servers, food lovers—who we admired, who we were excited about. Some were people we'd covered before, others we thought deserved some spotlight, and when we stepped back and looked at our messy scrap of paper full of names it was clear that our food scene is not dominated by men, at all.
So this year we've replaced our New Restaurants issue with a feature celebrating 28 rad women in local food and drink. Lists are trouble, and we totally recognize this. We don't consider this list to be an ultimate one, we have dozens of amazing names that we couldn't fit into this feature, but it's a snapshot of who's making Halifax a great place to eat and drink.
Please visit this link to read all about the other 27 incredibly talented women on the list.