Letter: Simply fed up

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The Independent Online
AS Michael Bateman notes, I worked at Alastair Little's restaurant from its inception in October 1985 until January 1993 ('Simply Alastair', Review). Although I was joint head chef for the last five years and therefore jointly responsible for the menu, my cooking is rarely acknowledged as having contributed in its own right to Alastair's success.

In a male-dominated industry we women work harder than our male colleagues. Although most chefs (including Alastair) admit that their start in cooking came from their mothers, or other women relatives, this women's work is largely invisible. The professional whose 'name is above the door' gets the credit. On rare occasions when women achieve professional status we are still less visible than our male counterparts. For example, most people in catering still refer to me as Alastair Little's sous chef.

The media portray cult chefs as nice guys or lovable rogues. They do not tackle the fact that most do little cooking. Kitchen life is generally one of drudgery. The hours are long, the wages low. The creative work of junior chefs, in particular female chefs, goes largely unrecognised.

Juliet Peston

London NW6