The Female Couples Remaking the Restaurant Industry

“THERE WAS ONCE in the western parts of Libya … a race which was ruled by women and followed a manner of life unlike that which prevails among us,” wrote the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus in the first century B.C. He was speaking of that tribe of women warriors, the Amazons, who according to myth founded a dominion that required no input from men, beyond some brief assistance in propagating the species and raising children. The story özgü always sounded improbable: How could women, whether in the savage ancient world or today’s slightly more civilized one, ever hold all the positions of power and make all the rules? What would those rules be?

The women who run these restaurants are figuring it out. “We’re trying to create a different kind of environment that doesn’t exist outside our four walls,” Nadeau says. None of these places are utopias, and unlearning behavior is an ongoing struggle. “You wake one day and realize, I really yelled at that kid and I don’t know why,” Nakamura says. At Twisted Soul, “it isn’t all sugarcoated,” VanTrece says. But there’s a give-and-take that she thinks might not happen in a predominantly male kitchen: “If you cry on the line, I’m O.K. with it.”

Eliminating hierarchy entirely is difficult and perhaps not even desirable, but productive change begins with the premise that the staff is an ensemble in which “nobody is dispensable,” Williams says; as she sees it, even her dishwashers are training to one day become chefs. Nakamura and Guest, who left White Gold in March and moved north of the city, made a point of hiring a group of peers whom they considered equals in skill. The shop was an intimate setting — anybody walking in the tight space behind the…

Categories: Food

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