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The Swiss Surprise!

Updated: May 14, 2022

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 for men.

Karishma Kothari, a recent graduate, and Riddhi Jalan and Diya Singh, currently enrolled, have all studied in the undergraduate program 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 program. It’s also worth noting that the team of five chefs overseeing the culinary program 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

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!

So what is the Swiss Surprise?

Attend our next event with the Culinary Arts Academy & the Swiss Education Group where you can meet them and discuss any questions that you may have about pursuing a career in the culinary arts!

The event will showcase a cookout with renowned chef Ritu Dalmia who will be discussing her own path to a culinary career and during the session, we will have students engaging in a cookout using DIY cooking kits curated by the chef herself!

In order to take part in the event, register at the link below and answer a few questions about culinary arts. Once you do so, we will pick 15 winners who will receive these personalized kits in the event and will take part in our virtual cookout!

Last date to register: 15th December 2020

Date: Saturday, 19th December 2020 at 12 PM IST

We hope to see you there soon!

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