MIAMI BEACH, Florida (AP) ― The foul-mouthed, self-proclaimed wild girls of the food world are making no apologies for their success.
Alex Guarnaschelli, Gabrielle Hamilton, Debi Mazar and Nadia G have all become big names in culinary circles thanks, in no small part, to their naughty-yet-nice personalities. And on Saturday they used their loud-and-proud voices to vent during a panel discussion at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
Being a woman in an industry dominated by men is not easy, they said.
“There are tons of women working in the industry. It’s the fact that they are not getting recognized in the same way as men,” said Hamilton, author of the brash food world memoir “Blood, Bones & Butter” and owner of Prune restaurant in New York. “They are not in executive chef positions. They don’t get funding for restaurants.”
Guarnaschelli and Hamilton are both trained chefs who have received accolades from critics and peers. Mazar and Nadia G made waves when their cooking shows went viral, all while wearing heels.
“Who started cooking?” Nadia G of Cooking Channel’s “Bitchin Kitchen” jokingly asked. “I grew up with women in the kitchen who taught me everything I know, from pasta to how to live my life. It’s great that guys are good cooks, but honestly we all know where it started and who fed us. And it’s the ladies in the house.”
Some of the women said they choose this profession out of a passion for cooking. Guarnaschelli, though, chose it “because I’m angry.”
“If I want to make a giant tub of tartar sauce and throw it on the floor and yell that it’s horrible, or I want to make crab cakes like a psycho, or if I just want to cook a whole side of beef, well I’m going to do that,” she said. “And that kind of ability to take all the bad and good energy and direct it at something and create and cook it and cut it up, hell yeah. Sign me up, girl or not.”
Mazar, who is known for her role on HBO’s “Entourage” as press agent Shauna Roberts, hosts Cooking Channel’s “Extra Virgin” with her Italian husband. She said panelists Guarnaschelli and Hamilton receive more credit in the industry “since they’re not wearing heels” in the kitchen.