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Kabe, Sow… Female chefs holding their own in culinary world

By Maria Diamond
29 January 2022   |   3:25 am
From logical to the ludicrous, statistics have shown that there are more male chefs than women. While some nutritional analysts suggest that financiers prefer to invest in male chefs instead of their female counterparts...

Chef Glory Kabe

From logical to the ludicrous, statistics have shown that there are more male chefs than women. While some nutritional analysts suggest that financiers prefer to invest in male chefs instead of their female counterparts, others narrowed it down to the level of importance attached to cooking due to the fact that women tend to see cooking as an inherent hobby and treat it with simplicity, while men view it as serious business and follow suit.

Others say it boils down to the stress of being a chef as a lot of physical activity is involved, in addition to being in a fast-paced environment and working under hot room temperatures as they strive to meet customers’ orders, hence men fit better in the chef career.
However, Chef Glory Kabe and Chef Mame Sow are two female chefs who are holding their own in the world of the male dominated sector, in their quest to satisfy gastronomic demands and soothe taste buds. They both belong to a very historic set – the first set of chefs showcasing their culinary prowess at the first-ever African dining hall at the globally renowned Dubai Expo events.

Chef Kabe has etched her name in history books as the very first chef to introduce Afro-Vegan food to Dubai, thereby satisfying a growing vegetarian community in that region. She is also playing a key role by hosting a 10-day pop-up in the Middle East region’s first Vegan Food Festival currently ongoing as part of activities for the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Chef Kabe discovered her passion for cooking when she was living in Brazil. She fell in love with Afro Brazilian food and decided to become a chef after taking out the time to think about what she wanted, with cooking topping her list.
Also holding her own in the world of culinary is the Senegalese-born Mame Sow, a renowned pastry chef widely known for her juxtaposition of sweet and savoury flavours. Chef Sow had always loved cooking but realised she could develop a career out of it in high school, and that was when she immersed herself into learning more and practicing her culinary skills.
Both chefs describe themselves as natural-born cooks. Chef Kabe is driven by passion and strongly believes she can surmount any obstacle. She is self-taught and not afraid of leaving her comfort zone and starting over if need be. Mame Sow honed her cooking skills through helping her aunt when she was much younger, and she aspires to showcase Africa beautifully through her signature desserts.
Speaking on the inspiration behind her dishes, Chef Kabe said: “My goal as a chef is to ensure an unforgettable experience, so for me when recreating a dish, I always say that it has to give you the same feeling as when you tried it the first time, making sure you won’t forget that taste. It’s the same for me, especially creating Afro vegan dishes. It has to be mind-blowing and something you won’t forget respecting tradition including modernity and looking like an art piece.”

The journey of both chefs in the culinary world has been laced with several lessons, but for chef Kabe, humility and hard work particularly stand out.

For Chef Sow, the lessons she has learnt in the course of her career are the need to express gratitude, treat people, especially her coworkers with respect, and being open to learning.
For aspiring female chefs, Kabe advised that they should pursue their dreams and not let anything hold them back, while Chef Sow counsels upcoming female chefs to “Stay faithful to your goals and dreams and always put your health first.”

While chef Sow does not have any current plans to pass her culinary legacy to anyone presently, she is always willing to share her knowledge and teach, describing it as the best way to learn.
Remarking on shattering the glass ceiling in a male-dominated profession, Chef Sow confessed that being a female cook or chef in a male-dominated world hasn’t always been easy.

“But I’ve learned to keep my head up and always focus on my goals to get me through the challenging times” she said.


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