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The cook the cooker,the chef and the gendering of the kitchen

If we were to play a game of word association, what would spring to mind when I said "chef"? Driven? Egotistical? Aggressive? All of the above? Either way, I'd venture to guess that masculine or macho will make an appearance on that list long before female or feminine. The word "cook", on the other hand, is likely to throw up different results. While traditionally women have been the ones charged with preparing food within the home, the professional kitchen has long been a male-dominated space. A successful chef must possess several attributes - a well-honed palate, an artistic mind, a certain dexterity with a knife - but, first and foremost, they need to be devoted to their job. The hours are long, the pay (until you reach the upper echelons) doesn't reflect this and the pressure is relentless. In a high-end restaurant, perfection is a must - every dish, every day. We all have a fixed idea of how something should taste, probably it is safe to say t

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