Making a name in the professional cooking industry, Filipina chef consultant and culinary professor Kim Marie Castillo highlighted the importance of the presence of women in the kitchen.
Having experienced being one of the women surrounded by more than 300 men during her culinary career, Kim emphasized the need to prove that women can also reign in the kitchen, no matter how they look.
Kim shared that she was commonly misjudged as a professional chef because she was “too girly” or showed too much femininity in her outfits, saying that she should not be working in a field that is commonly led by men.
Hence, Kim did not degrade her skills and personality with these discriminations, as she took this as a motivation to do more in the culinary field, proving that women can also do these skills.
As a bit of advice, she encouraged women to focus on their goals and disregard these judgments. “You have to put in the weight and put yourself to work. You also have to act way better than them by honing your craft,” she said.
With this, she has disclosed that even though she has the title of chef consultant and culinary professor, she is still continuing to study her craft to be knowledgeable about cooking and combat judgments because she is a woman.
Kim was a previous chef at a well-known national airline catering company, where she handled over a 7,000-square-meter facility, even though she was misjudged by how feminine she looked.
“It impacted my career in such a way that I need to prove myself to my bosses, who are men, and I have to prove myself to the other chefs there that I can actually handle thousands of guests a day. The trajectory that I got was that I gained respect from my peers both locally and internationally,” she said.
Other than proving oneself, Kim also disclosed the importance of standing up for something you’re being discriminated against, as it is someone’s right to defend themselves when they are being degraded. “There’s a lot of gender bias in the kitchen, even harassment that’s not being talked about, but I faced it by calling it out,” she explained.
“Always prove your work. You can be as feminine as you want outside the kitchen, like me, but inside the kitchen, I act tough and I act very fierce,” she added.
Up until today, Kim still continues to empower women in the culinary field and is dedicated to the goal of raising the flag of women as individuals who will also be known because of their cooking skills, both local and international.