Even when he tried to list out women's positives, "he displays his staggering, almost medieval gender bias" and people are outraged.
He's a former Michelin star chef, a well-acclaimed TV presenter, and a high-profile restaurateur. But recently, Marco Pierre White extended his reputation to also include his image as a chef who enrages the culinary world with sexist remarks.
He's known to speak with no filters and once even critiqued a woman's salmon dish, "And you hope to keep a husband," on an episode of Hell’s Kitchen.
During his interview with the Irish Independent, he made it clear how he believes men and women come with their own differences in the kitchen. According to The Guardian, he said, "The real positive with men is that men can absorb pressure better, that’s the main difference, because they are not as emotional and they don’t take things personally."
Suggesting that women are not strong enough to handle the pans while cooking, the 57-year-old chef added, "Look at the size of some of the pans you are carrying. Can you imagine you’re a lady in the kitchen and saying: 'Will you carry that pan for me?'"
He did compliment women for having better consistency in the kitchen, but that he almost dismisses by attributing it to women being able to "respect the house more". According to Big Hospitality, he said, "Women tend to have a better palate, because they have a better sense of smell. They are more consistent than men, when it comes to cooking, because they respect the house more, they do their job."
Professionals from the industry were infuriated by how Marco Pierre White would let someone's gender cloud his opinion of them, instead of looking at them as a person and how their individual performances play out. His comments were offensive to people in general and not just people who work in the hospitality business.
Neil Rankin, owner of the Temper steakhouse and barbecue restaurants in London, wrote on Instagram, "Women not only have to do the same exact job in every area of hospitality but also have had to contend with every oppressive jibe in the book from day one and not only from their colleagues but from industry leaders like this in 2019."
He called Marco Pierre White a "rambling dinosaur" and went on to say, "Frankly I don’t think men could handle this bulls**t every day. I think they’d crumble under the pressure."
"It is extremely unhelpful to have a prominent male chef like Marco Pierre White undermining the contribution and role of women in restaurant kitchens," said Asma Khan, founder of London's Darjeeling Express, where the kitchen is run by an all-female team. "Even when he attempts to list the positives, he displays his staggering, almost medieval gender bias. And basically dismisses us as neither innovators or creators."
Women are more “emotional” in the kitchen-men “absorb the pressure of the kitchen better”- As a female restaurant owner working with 9 female chefs I cannot relate to ANYTHING he is saying about women in kitchens- I am so disappointed reading this by a venerated chef. #FeetOfClay pic.twitter.com/SF2qDWykBC— Darjeeling Express (@Darjeelingldn) August 28, 2019
James Ritchie, who used to be a kitchen worker, has had experiences that are vastly different from the comments that Marco Pierre White made. He said, "The few women I worked with were in complete control of their emotions and handled pressure and casual sexism with aplomb, whereas many male colleagues regularly had tantrums, lost control, and were abusive to other members of staff because of the pressures of working in a high-end kitchen. Not unlike a certain Marco Pierre White back in his heyday."
Having preconceived notions, especially ones based on gender, robs a person of the chance of proving what they can do. Sally Abe, head chef at Michelin-starred The Harwood Arms in Fulham said, "For me it's not about sex, it's about people. It's not about looking at someone with preconceptions of what they can and can't do it's giving them a chance and letting them prove themselves. That's what I've always done, work hard and you will be successful regardless of gender."
When Natalia Ribbe, founder of the Ladies of Restaurants movement that supports women working in hospitality, read the old-fashioned statements that Marco Pierre White made, she said, "Lines like this make me wonder why so many great chefs say that they learned to cook from their mother. Was it because they were emotional wrecks who made them so eager to learn to cook themselves, so their mother would then leave the kitchen?"
The one thing that people hope from the front-runners of the culinary world, which includes people like Marco Pierre White, not let the industry take a step backward and keep their biased attitude out of the kitchen, especially away from the fire. Asma Khan added, "Like a three-day-old fish, [these comments] reek of patriarchy, and there is no place in kitchen for rotting fish or chefs with these attitudes."