Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis



Second Department

Gender and Women's Studies

Reader 1

Phil Zuckerman

Reader 2

Piya Chatterjee

Reader 3

Erich Steinman

Rights Information

© 2014 Julia Howard


In my thesis I interviewed female chefs and asked them to share their pathway to becoming a professional chef and/or restaurateur. I found in my research that women's experiences within the domestic kitchen have been documented and recorded, as they are seen as the gatekeepers of that space within the home. However, though women have moved into working in commercial kitchens the stories that the media highlights and records are of women and cooking within the domestic kitchen. I want to begin to build a second volume of stories, of women’s lives, work and experience around cooking within the professional sphere. In my project I explored and investigated why female chefs believed commercial kitchens are still dominated by men, and how these women who I interviewed believe their gender has hindered or helped them achieving their executive position in their restaurant. I argue that the lack of personal accounts and publications highlighting women’s accomplishments within the professional sphere are causing commercial kitchens to remain to be structured within a patriarchal framework. By collecting these stories, and documenting the unique pathways these women took to holding executive jobs in the restaurant industry I hope that the stories will begin to dismantle the patriarchal framework that dominates the commercial kitchen by adding a feminine narrative to the discourse.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.