Cafe Society

Reader: What does gender have to do with cooking ability?

The Denver FIVE is Leigh Sullivan's "passion project," and she's just introduced the seventh FIVE class of featured chefs -- and for the first time, all five are women: Nadine Donovan (Old Major), Aniedra Nichols (Elway's Cherry Creek), Carrie Shores (Table 6), Elise Wiggins (Panzano) and Jenna Johansen (Epicurean Group).

See also: Leigh Sullivan announces the 2014 Denver FIVE -- and they're all fabulous females!

The fabulous females got TheFabulousMarkT thinking:

(NOTE - Please understand that this is not a slam on this particular article. I have seen what I'm about to refer to in many, many periodicals, and just thought this was a good time to broach the subject.)

Now, this may not be a terribly popular opinion, but I'm reminded of a comment Joni Mitchell made back around 1997. She said:

"One guy came up to me and said, You're the best female singer-songwriter in the world.' I was thinking: What do you mean female? That's like saying you're the best [very outdated racial term].'"

My point is that - it's great that these folks have achieved this, but why don't we just refer to them as "the 2014 FIVE winners"? Why bring their gender into it at all, unless their uteri/ovaries/etc. have a direct bearing on their cooking ability (if this is true, I'd love to hear about it). :D

I mean, would we say, "Oh wow, look - there are three Colorado chefs on The Next Food Network Star and they all happen to be black people!"?

Just my $0.02....

It is a good time to broach the subject, because we're just finishing up our Best of Denver 2014 Readers' Poll, and while we'll once again feature the crowd-pleasing "Best Hair on a TV Anchor -- Male" and "Best Hair on a TV Anchor -- Female," when it comes to the best at doing the actual job, we keep the categories gender-free. It's simply Best Anchor, as it is Best Chef or Best Bartender. Do you agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below -- and look for our Best of Denver Readers' Poll on January 16.


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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun