We need to decide if gender matters in the kitchen or not. Because only then can we stop having debates like whether the chef's gender affects the taste of food.
Tejal Rao's latest piece for The Atlantic asks that very question, and concludes that those who believe they can guess the gender of the chef after eating a meal are full of it.
While I don't think there are food psychics -- with the irrelevant and irritating power to determine a chef's gender in a single bite -- walking among us. I do believe we bring some preconceived notions as diners, courtesy of our upbringing, television programming and advertising, about how the gender of a chef will impact our meal.
If you go on stereotypes, male chefs are the aggressive, grill-beating, flavor-popping equivalent of juice heads, while female chefs are concerned with comfort and making you feel at home through food. But spend any time in a kitchen and you'll discover that women are just as drawn to fire and men want to find comfort in a bowl, too.
I do think chefs reveal their true personality in their dishes, the same way seemingly mild-mannered actors come alive on stage. And that personality -- not gender -- is what determines whether a dish is tasty or poorly conceived.
[Image via Flickr: TheCulinaryGeek]