Amidst the praise and applause for brands who stepped up in their effort to uplift women this International Women’s Day, a tweet by Burger King – “Women belong in the kitchen”, was all it took to cause an uproar among the netizens. It drew so much flak that the fast-food brand had to take down the tweet and give an apology.
The tweet was written by Burger King in its attempt to draw attention to the fact that the presence of females in the culinary world is minimum and to change this status quo through scholarships.
While women definitely do not belong in the kitchen (and nor do men), what if some women do want to be in the kitchen? What if there are women out there who have not only ruled their domestic kitchen but dared to build a career out of it for themselves?
From cookbook writers to chefs in commercial kitchens of hotels and restaurants, several Indian women too have emerged as path-breakers in the culinary world. Kitchen was their battlefield and vision and grit, their commander. Let’s take a look at who these superwomen are!
Bhicoo J Manekshaw
The first Cordon Bleu chef from India, Bhicoo J Manekshaw is a champion of Parsi cuisine – At 83 years of age, she still popularises Parsi cuisine through her cookbooks. She set up Basil & Thyme, Delhi’s first standalone continental restaurant and has served as a food adviser to elite clubs such as India International Centre and Delhi Golf Club.
Mrs Balbir Singh
Roti may be a staple food for Indians but not everyone knows how to make one. For those who have just stepped into the culinary world, Mrs Balbir Singh is one such platform that offers a digital handbook of sorts. One of the most respected Indian cookbook authors, Mrs Balbir Singh was the first cookery expert whose classes were aired by India’s national television network. Her cooking and homemaking classes was widely known in Delhi in the mid-1900s. Carrying forward her legacy and passion of empowering people to make the process of meal preparation truly special, Pallavi, Mrs Balbir’s granddaughter has been bringing many of her recipes at https://mrsbalbirsingh.com/.
An Indian celebrity chef and restaurateur, Ritu Dalmia is also the co-owner of Diva, Delhi. At a young age of 22, she started her first restaurant ‘MezzaLuna’ that specialised in Mediterranean cuisine in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi. She opened the first Indian fine dining restaurant at King’s Road, London in 1996 and three years later, she opened ‘Diva’ Italian restaurant in Greater Kailash, Delhi. The latter continues to be a very popular restaurant in Delhi to this day.
The world of chefs may be thronged with males, but these women, through culinary skills, have definitely made the world their oyster.