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Is it time to stop treating women chefs differently?

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In his critique of the 2018 results of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, the late Jonathan Gold, food critic for the Los Angeles Times, referred to the World’s Best Female Chef category as an “unlovable honor.” The award handed out annually at the fine dining world’s equivalent of the Oscars — this year’s, held in Bilbao, Spain, crowned London-based Clare Smyth — is ostensibly aimed at celebrating women in a profession with a chronic dearth of leading female figures. But while some see it as a positive step, others see it as part of the problem — especially at a time when gender inequality is coming under intensified scrutiny. Ryan Sutton of Eater.com described the award as an “unnecessary” accolade that tokenizes a woman chef and makes it seem as if she “isn’t as good as any of the male chefs on the list.” Even Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, who was crowned World’s Best Female chef in 2016, was quoted as being “outraged” with the gender-specific award, although she felt “honored.” “This award category defines chefs by their gender, not by their skills, it needs to change,” says Crenn, the first female chef to be awarded two Michelin stars in the United States. “I respect my peers but by having a gender-specific award, we are creating a competition among the genders.”

Question: In which cases should women and men be judged separately? 

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