Time Magazine's 'God of Food' Issue Strokes Controversy, No Girls Allowed

Nov 09, 2013 11:47 AM EST | By Dina Exil

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Time magazine is getting some backlash for what was supposed to be a cover story that celebrated a group of chefs they called "The Gods of Food." 

While three well-known faces grace the cover, David Chang, René Redzepi, and Alex Atala, the food community is calling the magazine out for the conspicuous absence of any "goddess" chefs.

According to food blog Eater.com, Time editor Howard Chua-Eoan explained editors shaded down an initial list of 300 names to 13 and eventually identified Paris-based Italian food critic Andrea Petrini the most influential person in food today.

Petrini is the French chair for the World's 50 Best Restaurants list and organizes several high profile events in the international food circuit including Cook it Raw and Gelinaz.

"Well I think it reflects one very harsh reality of the current chefs' world, which unfortunately has been true for years: it's still a boys club," Chua-Eoan said.

The issue also includes a "food tree" illustrating the effect of influential chefs like René Redzepi, Alain Passard, Ferran and Albert Adrià and Thomas Keller. Food bloggers and websites reacted quickly to the fact that of the 13 most powerful and influential players, only four are women, and none of those women are chefs.

"This is pathetic," tweeted food writer Ruth Reichl. "Time should be ashamed."

The four women mentioned in the issue, whom are not chefs are Amrita Patel, chairman of India's National Dairy Development Board; Vandana Shiva, activist; Ertharin Cousin, head of the UN World Food Programme; and Aida Batlle, a star of the third-wave coffee movement. Two female pastry chefs are covered in a sidebar.

"At this point, rather than have someone on the list who other people will say 'fills a quota,' we did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef just because she's a woman," Chua-Eoan said.

The November issue entitled "The Gods of Food: Meet the People Who Influence What (and How) You Eat," a cover story that identifies chefs, food writers, activists and policymakers who shape the gastronomic landscape.

The issue hits stands Nov. 18.

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