On Making Space for Women
D: Do you think that attitude or stereotype has put young women off from entering the industry?
DA: Yeah, I think so. For sure. Another barrier for women is having families and there just isn’t enough support, there’s not enough flexibility.
Back when I was working in Chez Panisse, I worked with a lot of women that became pregnant, had children, and came back to work. They would take breaks to be able to breastfeed their children. A lot of things that are just really unheard of in restaurants, you know? The restaurant leads really tried to make space for women to do what they need to do to raise their children while working in the industry.
But that’s rare. Unfortunately, lots of times, restaurant life is so rigid and structured because you have to be open for lunch. You have to be open for dinner. So I think compounding that with the stresses of being a mom, I see how difficult and challenging that still is for many women.
D: What have been your biggest challenges in the industry, personally?
DA: This is something I’ve had to learn recently. I think that men do a better job at advocating for themselves in terms of asking for pay and other things that women don’t ask for. Which is terrible. I actually hired a business manager to help me with this because I thought to myself, ‘I need to actually approach this differently or else I’m never gonna get ahead. And I really do have to start making sure that I get as much, if not more, than a man would get in whatever that I’m doing.’
It’s not enough to just be humble and quiet about it. You actually do have to talk about it and you have to get out there and stand up in front of people and make sure that people recognize your great qualities. So If a man can do that, then I definitely can.