Heston Blumenthal has claimed that women chefs aren’t reaching the same levels as men in the industry due to ‘evolution’ and women not being able to lift heavy pots and pans after childbirth.
The molecular gastronomer and father-of-four, who welcomed his youngest child with French estate agent Stephanie Gouveia last year, also said that male chefs are shocked when women stand up for themselves in the kitchen.
London-born Blumenthal, 53, who has five Michelin stars across two restaurants, made the comments after being asked why there aren’t more women represented at the top level of the industry.
He told the Economic Times: ‘I have always employed female chefs, but historically and ultimately, the body clock starts working. It’s evolution, and it is one thing to have a 9-5 job and quite another to be a chef with kids. So, that makes it difficult, the physical strain of lifting heavy pots and pans.’
His comments have provoked a backlash on social media, with one irate commenter writing: ‘Thank goodness they can find the strength to lift their children.’
Heston Blumenthal has said women chefs aren’t reaching the same levels as men in the industry due to evolution and women not being able to lift heavy pots and pans after childbirth (pictured in the kitchen at the Fat Duck in Bray)
Last year, Heston married his second wife – French estate agent Stephanie Gouveia, the mother of his youngest child
Another wrote: ‘Blumenthal, who followed his biological clock in marrying a woman 20 years his junior. This is hilarious.’
Despite his comments, the celebrity chef added he thinks his industry is much better than it was 15 years ago, when women had to be ‘tough as old boots’ to be successful.
Now, he said, they are less likely to put up with sexist behaviour in the kitchen and to fight back when it does occur.
He added that: ‘Quite frankly, men have asked for this; they’ve brought it on themselves,’ he said.
His comments have sparked outrage online, with many accusing the chef of sexism
‘The shock of women standing up for themselves is strong and men get really insecure’ he added.
His comments have sparked outrage online, with many accusing the chef of sexism.
‘Yet another high profile make chef, that is an expert on female chefs’ one wrote.
‘Utter nonsense really’ another penned.
‘This is ridiculous, women are strong too. I lug massive pots and pans around the kitchen every day with absolutely no problems’ another wrote.
‘Funny how male chefs don’t have that problem’ another commented.
Femail had contacted Heston Blumenthal for comment.
It comes as the Michelin Guide, released this week, was dominated by male chefs, with favourite Core by Clare Symth missing out on a third star.
Despite his comments, the celebrity chef added he thinks his industry is much better than it was 15 years ago, when women had to be ‘tough as old boots’ to be successful (pictured in the Fat Duck in Bray)
Last year, the Northern Irish chef was crowned the best female chef in the world in a ceremony in Bilbao.
Speaking to Bloomberg at the time, Smyth, who grew up in County Antrim, said: ‘This award shines a light on women’s success and gives people like me the opportunity to talk about how we can support and mentor the next generation.
‘When we see women represented in numbers in lists like these, then we will have changed the industry for the better and these awards will no longer be needed.’
Heston himself is a father-of-four, sharing three children with his first wife Zanna.
The couple met as teenagers when he was a credit controller and she was a nurse., and married in 1989.
During their marriage, he had an affair with American cookery writer Suzanne Pirret, who has said her favourite things are ‘food and sex’.
The couple split up in 2011, but didn’t divorce until last year, and Blumenthal has revealed he went through a ‘crisis’ after their break-up, and began to question everything in his life.
Last year, he married French estate agent Stephanie Gouveia, the mother of his youngest child after going public with their romance in 2016.