Chef Scott has a delicate and meaningful approach to his craft, made apparent by his breadth of knowledge of the ingredients on his menu. In so much of our conversation, I hear him pull stories from his childhood, a nostalgic sepia-toned story of his granny, or nana, or mother. I ask him if he employs many women in his kitchen today.
“Unfortunately not,” he answers but he’s hopeful that will change soon. His pastry chef and her assistant are women, and he has two spots open in his kitchen (at the time of the interview) for an executive sous and sous chef. He is hoping to fill the positions with women.
“One of the restaurant owners I worked with [previously] said my food was very feminine and the way that I cooked was very feminine,” he says, speaking about an instance where he felt offended by the distinction–not because his masculinity was under scrutiny but because, to Chef Scott, food is delicate.
“Food in general, because it’s beautiful, is not masculine by nature,” he says. “I think toxic masculinity, especially in the kitchen, doesn’t make any sense. It’s misplaced. We’re trying to do this thing that is inherently an expression of love and we’re all mad at each other and we’re puffing our chests,” he says, confused by the aggressive nature in some kitchens.
His cooking and approach to food are gentle, which he attributes to his relationship with the women in his family. “I’m a very sensitive person… I don’t really care about crying and all the things men aren’t supposed to do, and that’s partially because of my relationship with my grandmother and my mother.”
He uses that inspiration in how he manages his kitchen, “Thank God for feminine energy,” he says unflinchingly. “I want to evoke that in my kitchen.” He admits to his share of flare-ups in the heat of the kitchen but says, “I try to operate with grace and manage my kitchen with grace. I definitely think about these things a lot more than the average person swinging around a chef’s knife.”