Padma Lakshmi is standing up for women and minorities who work in the food industry.
In a recent interview, the “Top Chef” host discussed how the professional food industry is one of the “most male-dominated sectors” of society.
“Probably the only place that’s more male-dominated is the military and so I would like to see that change,” she told Us Weekly.
“Most of the food in this world is actually made by women and yet the professional food world is taken over by men, so I would like to see that disparity decrease considerably,” she explained.
Lakshmi insisted that until real inclusivity can take place, there must first be paid maternity leave, better hours, better accountability for sexual harassment, and equal pay between men and women and between ethnicities.
According to Lakshmi, real change will one come if its driven by “white male chefs” in the industry.
“I would like to see big, white male chefs in our industry make a concerted effort to mentor and speak out for women and minorities — to mentor them and give them the same richness of experience and privilege that white males have had. I think that would go a long way,” she said.
“We don’t even teach African-American food in culinary school in this country and we should,” she added. “That is a rich part of our history here, and I think we need to expand and broaden what we consider important in modern gastronomy.”