Clare Finney: 'Women have always been in food and have always fed, they just never got any professional recognition for it'

The  Staff Canteen

Claire Finney’s book, ‘The Female Chef’ is not just a cookbook: it is a collection of 31 interviews shining a light on the brilliant female talent in hospitality. 

Food writer Clare Finney, who writes for The Guardian, has published columns in The Telegraph, and The Independent and featured in Great British Chefs, and Foodism, hopes that her debut book - not a cookbook, but a series of short pieces about the amazing women in the industry - will encourage more women to become chefs.

“It is about is women who are shaking up this previously white male industry and the way in which being a chef is changing thanks to them,” she said.

Pitched to her by publisher Hoxton Mini Press, who wanted to tell the story of female chefs, but weren’t sure how to do so with tact, she explained: ”They really wanted to shine a light on the number of women who were working in restaurant kitchens and the level of success and acclaim that they had reached, they didn’t want to do it in a way that seemed patronising or reductive.”

The Female chef author, writer Clare Finney

What’s more, she said: “I really wanted the book to be as representative as possible - by which I mean representative of the sheer diversity of restaurant kitchens these days, albeit not as diverse as it should be.”

“Women have always been in food and have always fed. They just never got any professional recognition for it.” This book, she said, will hopefully help change that.

“It took people like Angela [Hartnett] and Clare [Smyth] to smash through the glass ceiling and whilst women are still being cut on the shards that remain, at least they have an opportunity to think about what they want to see on the other side.”

The book is available from the Hoxton Mini Press website.

While Clare doesn’t have any other books in the works as of yet, she would love to write more, and has had the idea of bringing out an updated version of the book in the future including interviews, she said, with “all the brilliant new women who are coming on the scene.”

Image of Clare used in header ©Orlando Gili.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th January 2022

Clare Finney: 'Women have always been in food and have always fed, they just never got any professional recognition for it'