Food & Wine is combating criticism that the media consistently overlooks top women chefs by releasing an all female issue this January.
Last November, TIME magazine honored 13 “Gods of Food” in a special culinary issue and no female chefs were featured, although four women in other areas of the culinary industry received a nod.
Howard Chua-Eoan, the special’s section editor, responded to criticism saying that the picks reflected the “harsh reality” of the food world and the media has no obligation "advocate for anything" when it comes to overcoming the gender gap.
Even Food & Wine’s Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin has been catching flack for overlooking female chefs during her tenure at the magazine. Less than 16 percent (43 out of 262) of the chefs featured on the “Best New Chefs” cover issue have been women since the series launched in 1988, according to First We Feast.
A photo featured in her 20th anniversary celebration issue, showcased the esteemed food editor surrounded by four of the world's top chefs-- none of them were female.
The official announcement from Food & Wine (posted on Eater) says
“FOOD & WINE is dedicating its January 2015 issue to the women who rule the food world. We follow star chef Nancy Silverton to Umbria to learn from the nonnas; we check out "company snack time" with Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the power duo behind Food52. And we consider the importance of mentorship in leading the way forward by asking extraordinary female cooks to tell us about the women who've taught and inspired them.”
The lack of women in top chef spots has long been an issue. While several in the culinary world have been advocating for greater awareness, women hold just 10 out of 160 head chef positions at 15 of the nation’s top restaurant groups.