This talk happened at the POUR symposium within the Cocktail Spirits Paris 2017 this year. Why was this talk very important? Let’s find out!


“If the bar scene always looks up to the gastronomie for examples, in terms of diversity and openness to address social issue, it is slightly more advanced….” Great, humble and genuine intro by Alex Kratena questioning the audience about their own biais.

Why this symposium ? 
” This year we turn our attention to ‘Gender’, recognizing the issues within our industry and examine how to embrace change, equality and expand this movement further. The future needs to be about diversity, it needs to be empowering and it needs to include everyone! We need to collaborate to educate, and inspire each other to create new leaders, that will drive our industry forward.”

Spiritsfully says : YEAH !


What followed next and the object of the entire post is a great talk by Maria Canabal questioning the industry … and bringing empowering solutions !


Who is Maria Canabal ?

Maria Canabal is an award-winning journalist, trends hunter, lecturer and curator who lives in Paris, Madrid and Copenhagen. She writes about food, travel and lifestyle for magazines. Maria is the president of Parabere Forum, the first forum in the world for women in gastronomy; an annual event that gathers thought leaders in the field of food.

What was her talk about ?

  1. explaining the current situation from a gender perspective : where are we now ?
  2. describing how we got here
  3. showing why we need to change this current situation
  4. proposing what we can all do to change the situation

Let’s start with some figures that speak for themselves :

gender pay gap 
– for chef 28%
– for bartenders 12.3% (so yes, the bar scene is slightly more balanced, but we’re not there yet….)

award chefs gap
– michelin chef —> 3% of awarded chefs were women in 2016
– 100 best chef of 2016 —> 4% of awarded chefs were women in 2016
– 50 world best restaurants —> 4% of awarded chefs were women in 2016

award jury gap
how many woman in jury ?
san pellegrino 2%
bacchus d’or  0%
50 best bars 8%
cocktail spirits award 26%

Check the pictures below for more figures : it seems that when you talk about everyday cooking, this is a topic for women, but as soon as we talk from Haute Cuisine, that it is a job and not a simple activity, this is all about men. In 2017 ? Seriously ?

How did we get there ?

Though working conditions : 
– demanding work hours 
– perceived physicality of the work)

Masculine culture
– militarized kitchen brigade system (from titles to costume, as an heritage of the endeavours of famour Paris chef Escoffier trying to copy the efficiency of the army in the 19th century)
– not so much about collaboration and empathy which are value women favor
– boy’ s club mentality & ordinary harassment (of course, if no women in the kitchen, no women harrassment –> but does it make the work culture more interesting)

Women own’s barriers
– lack of self confidence
– self censorship
– good girl syndrome, not focusing of PR but just achieving the task without selling themselves for it

Why it would make sense for everyone to change ?
— The more you attract women in the industry the bigger the talent pool will be
— Better retaining talents than keeping training new staff
— That’s good for innovation : gender balanced team are 40% more innovative

How can we change the situation ?
— Create fair environment
— Promote work life balance
— Support female talent A wonderful and relavant quote, as a conclusion.


As you can imagine, here are just some excerpts, notes quickly jotted down. The talk was informative, straightforward while giving a lot of sourced examples, comparing both the food and the drink industry (my figures above are just 10% of the figures she picked as evidence).

It finished with possible solutions, and why it is good for everyone to care more about reaching a gender balanced environment. 

Who came to the talk ? what did you think about it ? Let’s start a discussion !!!!