Rachel Khoo hits out at 'pathetic' lack of female TV chefs: 'You have to tick all these boxes'

The Croydon chef believes her success is partly down to 'looking a certain way'

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The Independent Culture

Celebrity chef Rachel Khoo has criticised broadcasters for not booking enough female-led cookery shows.

The Little Paris Kitchen star, 33, first hit screens two years ago on BBC2 and became famous for whipping up yummy dishes in her tiny Parisian flat.

But, despite her obvious talent, Khoo believes that her success is down, at least in part, to her good looks.

“You are up against a lot of things as a woman,” she told Radio Times. “You have to tick all these boxes to be able to be on TV. I know I look a certain way and that’s party why I’m on TV. If I were really ugly and fat, I don’t think I’d have had the same chance.”

Khoo continued to address gender inequality, arguing that the “last time there was a fat woman chef was the Two Fat Ladies and they called them Two Fat Ladies”.

“There are male chefs who are bigger but they don’t call them fat,” she said.

Channel 4, which features shows from Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,  is one of the worst offenders for not giving female chefs a platform, according to Khoo.

“Where are all the women?” she said. “It’s pathetic.”

Khoo, who can be seen in Marks and Spencer's Leading Ladies ad, also pointed out that Nigella Lawson, Lorraine Pascale and The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry are the only women given significant airtime on UK television.

M&S’s Leading Ladies campaign features (L to R) Alek Wek, Baroness Lawrence, Emma Thompson, Rachel Khoo, Annie Lennox and Rita Ora

There has been no follow-up to The Little Paris Kitchen, despite the first series being seen by nearly two million viewers and broadcast around the world.

Croydon-born Khoo’s new Kitchen Notebook series looking at London’s food scene is on the digital Good Food channel.