Can you name 5 African American Chefs or Executive Pastry Chefs of fine dining establishments? Where are the women and minorities culinary students who make up the majority in culinary classrooms yet are missing in action from the top of the line?
Chef Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC,CCA,ACE,AAC opens up and shares her story and some great recipes to help answer the questions of why there are too few female Chefs or African American Executive Chefs-Sweet or Savory leading in today’s kitchens.
Could it be European dominance, male superiority or just too much heat in the kitchen that keeps women from getting the managerial titles and positions?
With focus and determination to succeed in this surprisingly male dominated field, Chef Kimberly details the trials and tribulations of personal and professional achievements used to achieve her goal of becoming a Certified Chef and teaching other Junior Culinarians how to be better stewards of their own destiny.
Learning to embrace what makes you happy while helping others along the path will always bring the best gifts life has to offer; satisfaction and having peace of mind will ensure immeasurable rewards and compensations. Women can be mothers, wives, students or all of the aforementioned and still succeed in managing the demands of the kitchen and the people associated with it. People of color do have the drive and determination needed to be the Executive Chef when they plan the work and work the plan.
We need to wake up, step up and make it happen. Go get what is rightfully yours to have once you have prepared yourself, put in the time to get the experience and qualifications. Don’t just sit on the sidelines hoping to get noticed or included.
People are noticing and commenting on the plight of the minority chef. Culinary classes are filled with women, yet the leadership in our kitchen brigades does not reflect this. Are the women not getting the opportunity or are they just not taking it? You have to find your strength and courage to step out on your ability to succeed and lead.
I was asked how one becomes a chef if you have never been one. Experience and awareness is the answer.
Being aware and experiencing the work ethics of the kitchen you are in, puts you in daily training for success if you are open to it. We all have to start somewhere, the key is to start!
Take the lessons given and keep on stepping up to your highest potential.
It can happen if you plan the work and work the plan.
Do not believe me? Well, Here I Am.
In 2003, Chef Kimberly became the only African American female inducted into the 57 year old American Academy of Chefs, the Honor Society of the American Culinary Federation. As South Carolina’s only African American Certified Executive Pastry Chef, Approved Culinary Examiner and Certified Culinary Administrator, Chef Kimberly Brock Brown’s storied career started with the humblest beginnings of high school Home Economics classes in the Chicago suburbs to being an Executive Chef, Speaker, Food Demonstrator, Culinary Instructor and mentor to aspiring junior culinarians. Through her many magazine and newspaper articles, local television appearances, and social media entities, Chef Kimberly aspires to motivate and encourage all, but particularly women and minority cooks and chefs to step up and reach their fullest potential by seeking leadership roles and positions that sets them up for success. Mother to two foodies Bianca & Brock, caretaker of Blackie the family cat, sister to Cheryl, Judy & Paul, auntie to a niece & nephew and girlfriend to a few phenomenal women, Chef Kimberly loves to travel, read, spend time on the beach and at the spa, play board and card games, is a Certified Communicator with Toast Masters International and is active in one of the local clubs, the YMCA Yakkers where she is the current Vice President of Education.