With about 40 years of experience in hospitality management and culinary arts education, and rooted in the Swiss tradition of hospitality, Swiss Education Group is committed to enhancing tomorrow’s professionals with leadership and entrepreneurial skills which are highly sought after in the hospitality industry and beyond. Facing a glass ceiling is something many women today have to go through, in every industry. In this article we see how three indian students and alumni of Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland share their experience of challenging perceptions in the culinary world and confidently marching into kitchens across the globe.
Challenging age-old perceptions
In the culinary world, women have culturally and socially been associated with the domestic sphere, where the responsibility for preparing family meals lies with them. Paradoxically, since its early days, professional cooking has been viewed as a masculine field. While the number of women chefs with Michelin stars has increased in recent years, they are still relatively few in number, partly due to lower numbers of female chefs. Women in top kitchen positions also tend to be paid substantially less than their male counterparts. Three girls from various corners of India decided to counter the stereotype that professional kitchens are reserved to men.
Karishma Kothari, a recent graduate, and Riddhi Jalan and Diya Singh, currently enrolled, have all studied in the undergraduate programme at Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland Le Bouveret, one of the finest culinary schools in the world, with state-of-the-art facilities and world-class faculty. Not only are these three girls overcoming the gender bias, but they are also striving to make a mark in the international hospitality market.
"The number of girls getting into the culinary industry is increasing. Their zeal and dedication are reflected in the fact that girls in the classrooms are outshining their male counterparts," says Diya. "Our faculty confirm that most of the girls work harder to diversify their talent and brighten the kitchen," says Karishma.
According to Tanja Florenthal, the Academic Director of César Ritz Colleges Switzerland & Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland in Brig and Le Bouveret (Switzerland), women represent 53% of their culinary programme. It’s also worth noting that the team of five chefs overseeing the culinary programme at Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland Le Bouveret, includes a woman, pastry chef Mireille Bijoux.
The value of a quality-education
Studying at Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland is a life-changing experience, shares Karishma. Education from an international institute changes your perception towards life, it teaches you everything from management and the art of cooking, to soft skills and the ability to keep calm under pressure. "We also learn a lot during our internships, as it gives you a reality check. An intern has to put all their theoretical knowledge into practice," says Diya. "
“I am really proud of our students Riddhi, Karishma, and Diya for serving as such fine role models, shares Tanja Florenthal. Like in many professions in the world today, the glass ceiling is a reality and we need stories such as theirs to inspire many more female students to come forward to follow their dreams.” Chef Garima Arora became the first Indian woman to win a Michelin star in 2019. Here’s to Riddhi, Karishma, and Diya, joining her ranks one day!
All content has been posted with permission from the Swiss Education group.