Talent has nothing to do with gender

Mazzucchelli: you need to be acknowledged because of your merits, not because you’re a man or a woman

by Aurora Mazzucchelli
Aurora Mazzucchelli of restaurant Marconi in Sasso

Aurora Mazzucchelli of restaurant Marconi in Sasso Marconi (Bologna), born in 1973, awarded with one Michelin star in the family restaurant, since 2008. She previously gained experience with Herbert Hintner, Gaetano Trovato, Paolo Lopriore and Martin Berasategui

I carefully read Paolo Marchi’s article and the one signed by Cristina, a point of view that I share in many ways. The work of a chef, or of a woman chef, is not a movie. Nor is it a mystery novel. Each individual, whether he’s a man or a woman, is different and this is a good thing too: I believe diversity is a strong point that makes our way of expressing ourselves unique and this also applies to the kitchen: it’s like saying that something characterises yet doesn’t separate me from my colleagues.

Beside Paolo Marchi when she was nominated Best female chef of the year in October 2011

Beside Paolo Marchi when she was nominated Best female chef of the year in October 2011

I have always been serene about my identity and I’ve never thought of receiving any favour because of my looks. The Michelin guide awarded me with a star and this was a great personal satisfaction that I could share with my family and a great professional and media opportunity that allowed me to be known not just in my territory, but by an international clientele too, granting me some professional opportunities in Italy and abroad. I believe the Michelin guide is a serious one and, like Cristina, I have no list of inspectors and the like.

Photo www.acquabuona.it

Photo www.acquabuona.it

I believe that a way to make people understand that this can be, and in fact is, a profession for women is by showing people that I exist, telling them about my day, about my creations, my research, my growth, without desiring to be an example but rather a possibility. To comment on Cristina’s provocation: I don’t think that men had to study a strategy to be on television, each one of them had some opportunity and chose independently; of this, we’ve already had a chance to speak about in the past and as you know I don’t like to participate in meetings as the “female component” because I believe it is much more productive to participate because of your merits, another beautiful word that has nothing to do with gender: as men and women we should promote our profession and Italian cuisine all together.

Merit is manifested in our products, in the result of an on-going research, behind the spotlights. Who, what and how is the “meritocracy” concept formed? How influential are those who write in defining it? On what basis? So I launch my own provocation, now, which in fact I would like to consider as an invitation: come dine in our restaurants. We are here. We have finally brought the lively and true relation between restaurateur and producer in dishes and on magazines: well, let’s now speak of the relationship between restaurateur and opinion leader, continuing to demonstrate that personal inclinations, which are natural, stay out of the page and do not interest the reader. As for the men with a cover-page testosterone, I’ll make you smile: they’ve asked me to pose for Playboy. Well, does it make any sense? Perhaps I would have looked nice with a few good looking naked guys around me while I cleaned the fish, many would have written whole stories about it, consumed their keyboard on this news. But where would my cuisine have been in all this?

So I ask myself: can you communicate and be taken into consideration – and I’m not saying being famous – without making some sort of compromise but just by doing your job? Let’s not run after this liquid society, let’s try to take our time. Cristina is right when she wonders what women chefs want: let’s broaden the question. What do chef, in general, want? This is where we should start from. From personal responsibilities, personal choices and merit. And from the courage, on behalf of some journalist and event organiser, whether man or woman.

See also
It’s not easy yet it’s not impossible either by Loretta Fanella
We’re not angels of the hearth by Cristina Bowerman