Barbara Lynch Responds to TIME’s ‘Gods of Food’ Feature

The Boston superchef shares her thoughts on the magazine’s controversial new feature.

Last week, we learned that the November 18 issue of TIME magazine is anchored by a feature called “Gods of Food,” one that takes the male connotation of the word “God” quite literally—of the 13 “Gods” of food listed, four are women, and none are female chefs. A companion infographic to the feature showcases an extensive, global chef family tree of culinary influence—which contains zero female chefs as well.

In an interview with Eater defending this decision, issue editor Howard Chua-Eoan claimed, among other reasons, that the list is the way it is because “All men because men still take care of themselves. The women really need someone—if not men, themselves actually—to sort of take care of each other.”

Here in Boston, this type of exclusion (and, too, the point of defense) feels especially disheartening, since many of the trailblazers of our local dining scene are female chefs—Lydia Shire, Jody Adams, Ana Sortun, Joanne Chang, Mary Dumont, and Susan Regis just to name a few (not to mention the many, many chefs that they have mentored).

And then, of course, there’s Barbara Lynch. In the interview with Chua-Eoan, her name came up: Why was she, with an empire of seven lauded concepts (No. 9 Park, Menton, Sportello, Drink, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir) left off of the influence list? According to Chua-Eoan, Lynch’s influence was deemed as lacking the “cultural influence” of issue headliner David Chang and her reach “very local.”

We reached out to Lynch to get her perspective on the situation. Here, her thoughts:

There’s a lot of talk about this article circulating amongst my chef friends—both male and female. Howard wanted to get buzz, and he got it!

Being a woman in this industry, you have to fight hard to find a place among the men that dominate it. TIME’s article makes women sound like they are a minority, for sure. A community of talented female chefs now have that much higher of a glass ceiling to surpass.

Not that the men in the article aren’t talented, but come on, they have major PR support, and because I’ve chosen not to be a flash in the pan, I’ve worked that much harder to be on the national playing field. The most important influence that I have will always be among the talented, hard-working people I employ. I make a conscious, continued effort to educate the people I hire. I encourage them to grow their careers, even if that’s outside of my restaurants. I have wait staff that have been with me for 10, 12, 14 years, and that’s unheard of in this business.

And really, it’s one magazine’s opinion. I think Mr. Chua-Eoan might consider writing about stay-at-home dads and see where that gets him?

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