Time magazine cover story of ‘Gods of Food’ stokes controversy

Monday, November 11th, 2013. Filed under: Books Destinations Entertainment Food & Dining Home & Garden Online
The cover of Time magazine's Nov. 18 issue around the world, except the US. ©Time magazine

The cover of Time magazine’s Nov. 18 issue around the world, except the US.
©Time magazine

(Relaxnews) – Time magazine is getting some flack for what was supposed to be a cover story that celebrated a group of tastemakers they called “The Gods of Food.” The food community is calling the magazine out for the conspicuous absence of any ‘goddess’ chefs.

The issue in question is its November 18 publication entitled “The Gods of Food: Meet the People Who Influence What (and How) You Eat,” a cover story that identifies chefs, food writers, activists and policymakers who shape the gastronomic landscape. On the cover of every international edition except the US, chefs Alex Atala, David Chang and René Redzepi share the spotlight.

But not long after the magazine cover hit the web, readers, food bloggers and websites reacted quickly to the fact that of the 13 most powerful and influential players, only four are women, and none of those women are chefs.

“This is pathetic,” tweeted food writer Ruth Reichl. “Time should be ashamed.”

In a lengthy interview with popular food blog Eater.com, Time editor Howard Chua-Eoan explains how editors whittled down an initial list of 300 names to 13 and eventually identified Paris-based Italian food critic Andrea Petrini the most influential person in food today.

Petrini is the French chair for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and organizes several high profile events in the international food circuit including Cook it Raw and Gelinaz.

In addition to the list of 13 ‘Gods,’ the feature also includes a “food tree” illustrating the trickle-down effect of influential chefs like René Redzepi, Alain Passard, Ferran and Albert Adrià and Thomas Keller. Within the entire food package, only two female chefs are given nods: both pastry chefs, both of whom are relegated to sidebars, Eater points out.

For his part, Chua-Eoan explains that none of the female chefs whose names were initially on the table — Alice Waters, Elena Arzak, April Bloomfield and Anita Lo, for example — had a restaurant that matched the breadth, size and empire of the men they eventually chose.

“Well I think it reflects one very harsh reality of the current chefs’ world, which unfortunately has been true for years: it’s still a boys club.”

When pressed further, Chua-Eoan pointed out that reputation and influence superseded “filling a quota.”

“At this point, rather than have someone on the list who other people will say “fills a quota,” we did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef just because she’s a woman.”

Read Eater’s entire interview at http://bit.ly/195dEDb and see the Time issue at http://ti.me/1bia6jQ.

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