If you've ever done a triathlon, you know people swim right over you, jockeying for position at the start of a race. It takes a violent few minutes to find space.
It's a good metaphor for my experience as a sous chef. The men around me were forging ahead, securing executive chef positions or making deals with investors to turn their dream into a reality.
And the whole time, I was treading water. All with the expectation, I was content to do that.
Young women still get settled into restaurant positions like sous chef or front of house manager (or co-author of a cookbook). But sidelining dreams at a time when a career should be accelerating is something to think about.
I've talked to more than a few young women who, like me, couldn't get beyond sous chef. And listened to friends who were forgotten at publicity events for a cookbook they poured all kinds of labour into.
The yardstick by which I measure industry leaders right now is how many women they have lifted up.
By that, I mean sent them off into something far better.
With so many restaurants looking for staff right now, I'd start by asking about their track record promoting women if I were applying.
And I'd want specifics.
Soundtrack - 2020