Eater associate editor Hillary Dixler has been on the TIME case.
After noticing that no female chefs adorn the international-edition cover of TIME‘s November 18 issue (Chris Christie is on the cover of the U.S. edition), she kept digging and found additionally that it was mostly men (9-to-4) on the “13 Gods of Food” list inside. Dixler followed her initial coverage with a refreshingly frank set of Q&A responses from the responsible editor, Howard Chua-Eoan. He makes no apologies for “The Gods of Food” cover or lack of women on a related chart:
“There was no attempt to exclude women. We just went with the basic realities of what was going on and who was being talked about…”
“I know that we considered putting Alice Waters as one of the original four pillars of the [family tree] chart. Gender balance is important of course. We have four women on our gods list, four goddesses so to speak. And we were considering Alice Waters, but her chart… the thing about Alice is she retains a lot of loyalty, the people who work in her kitchens stay. There are a couple of big names who came out her kitchen, April [Bloomfield] and Dan Barber, I think, but otherwise the tree was sort of thin. So we had to go with someone else at that point. Alice is, of course, iconic.”
The four women on the “Gods” list are coffee producer Aida Batlle, India National Dairy Development board chair Amrita Patel, author-activist Vandana Shiva and UN World Food Program chief Ertharin Cousin. Two female pastry chefs also appear in a brief sidebar.
Update (November 13):
In light of the media controversy that has followed the “Gods of Food” gender imbalance, TIME today has published a must-read follow-up. Written by Belinda Luscombe, the item rounds up comments from Alice Waters and others on “what’s holding female chefs back.”
[H/T LA Weekly food critic Besha Rodell, whose separate objections first alerted us to this matter.]