For the past two weeks, as part of our collaboration with Ducasse Education, I have been travelling across India attending student fairs. We were there to promote the culinary and patisserie programs offered by the school as well as talk about my experience with studying at the school and the subsequent setting up of Bonne Bakery. It was a proud moment for me to represent my school in my home country as well as wonderful learning experience as I got to interact with so many young minds from different parts of the country.
Due to the large variety of courses offered by Ducasse Education I had the opportunity to interact with a varied age group. One of the most common questions I got asked is: How do I make money with this skill? I mention this because it was not a question frequently raised at stalls offering courses in commerce and management or even liberal arts. I’ve had a lot of people as me why I chose to become a chef when I’m educated and could do something better with my time. I have also had a lot of people ask me if I chose to become a chef because I am a woman and therefore more comfortable in such an environment.
Being part of a country that is primarily agricultural in nature, I believe one of the biggest reasons holding us back is the lack of education. Education allows us to think rationally, it allows us to work towards finding sustainable solutions to the looming problems pertaining to food production. My education allows me to use my skill of baking to find new ways to create safer, healthier products for the masses. Without education I can at best produce, but not innovate.
While there might be certain careers that are suited for only women, e.g.: A Victoria Secret Underwear Model, cooking is definitely not one of them. Gender, fortunately or unfortunately, has nothing to do with a person’s ability to taste, create or curate food. A woman has no 6th sense when it comes to knowing which spice will work best with a particular meat. That only comes from experience, dedication and talent.
To associate certain careers with a particular gender is not only demeaning to the gender but also takes away from the job itself. To believe that investing in developing a hard skill is wasteful is to limit yourself to only what your body can do. A mother may choose to only cook for her family whereas a daughter may choose to open a restaurant. What you make of your education is directly dependant on how far you are willing to push yourself.