Times of India Editorial & Vocabulary – Michelin goddess


Michelin goddess

Crack the glass ceiling, see the stars. 30-year-old chef Garima Arora’s Bangkok restaurant Gaa – less than two years old – has got its first Michelin star, which makes her the first Indian woman to acquire the distinction. In fact, around the world, women are a tiny minority at Michelin-starred restaurants – a reflection of how starkly sexist the culinary world still is. In 2013, Time magazine published a list called ‘Gods of Food’, with no female chefs at all, which was rightly dubbed ‘Dudes of Food’.

The high-end restaurant kitchen is a notoriously hard place for anyone – hierarchical, physically stressful, with gruelling hours, and a culture of abuse and pressure. Women tend to be stuck at the pastry chef or cold foods, because it’s assumed they can’t take the heat, literally and metaphorically. What’s more, chefs tend to be celebrated for their swagger as much as their skill – celebrated as temperamental geniuses, admired for their rule-breaking flourish – qualities that society rarely recognises or admires in women. It’s also unclear whether those qualities produce better food. But either way, they have long served to deter women from culinary school and the restaurant business.

Women are expected to cook at home, toil in their kitchens for no reward or gratitude, but when it comes to the high-status, high-returns work of the professional kitchen, men rule. It’s only now that these unfair norms are being shown up, and it’s inevitable that the accolades will be more evenly distributed in the future.


Acquire: buy or obtain an object or asset for oneself.

Example: Instead, tax will become payable automatically 30 days after the date that the purchaser acquires the property or land.

Synonyms: obtain, come by, get, receive, gain, earn, win, come into, be given, buy, purchase

Distinction: a difference or contrast between similar things or people.

Example: There is a sharp distinction between domestic politics and international politics

Synonyms: difference, contrast, dissimilarity, variance, variation, division

Pastry: a dough of flour, shortening, and water, used as a base and covering in baked dishes such as pies.

Example: To make the basic suet pastry , sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then rub in the suet.

Synonyms: crust, piecrust, croute

Swagger: a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive gait or manner.

Example: They strolled around the camp with an exaggerated swagger

Synonyms: strut, confidence, arrogance, ostentation; bluster, braggadocio

Deter: discourage someone from doing something, typically by instilling doubt or fear of the consequences.

Example: Only a health problem would deter him from seeking re-election

Synonyms: discourage, dissuade, scare off, dishearten, demoralize, daunt

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Example: She expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support

Synonyms: gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks, appreciation, indebtedness, recognition

Unfair: not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice.

Example: At times like these the legal system appears inhumane and unfair

Synonyms: unjust, inequitable, prejudiced, biased, discriminatory, one-sided, unequal

Accolade: an award or privilege granted as a special honor or as an acknowledgment of merit.

Example: The ultimate official accolade of a visit by the president

Synonyms: honor, privilege, award, gift, title, prize, laurels, bays, palm

Inevitable: certain to happen

Example: War was inevitable

Synonyms: unavoidable, inescapable, inexorable, ineluctable, assured, certain


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