10/04/2012 21:44 BST | Updated 09/06/2012 10:12 BST

The Great British Menu: May the Best Man Win


Expect testosterone, the sharpening of knives, sweating brows, a bit of swearing, oh, and just one woman, in tonight's 2012 Great British Menu. In this post-bra burning, have-it-all era for women who can give birth in heels while holding the right type of handbag in one hand and a career in the other, I was gob-smacked to read through the list of candidates and find that out of 24, only one is female.

I am not a raving feminist but merely an equalitist (that may be a new word). After the BBC furore of 'sacking' women of a certain age, they seem once more to have slapped their own remit to represent: "the UK, its nations, regions and communities" full in the face.

Prue Leith and Angela Hartnett are both judging but the significant absence of the 'fairer sex' is to be noted. Could it be that the sisters have gone too far in doing it for themselves and too many have (literally) come out of the kitchen and not quite made it back in yet?

You see, I doubt it. Most food bloggers (this little bunny included) are female, many food magazine editors and writers are women, women still, apparently, shoulder the burden of most of the cooking and domestic chores at home, yet where are they in our professional kitchens? Thank goodness for Shelina Permalloo - the first female champion for 7 years - on this year's Master Chef.

To add another slap to an already reddened face, it would seem that the famous people for whom the guests are competing to cook, are key figures from the world of sport and all male. Hopefully I am ill-informed on this and will be proved wrong once the program starts. Either way, it seems that post-feminism was only ever retro-sexism after all. Who were we kidding ladies, by using our beauty as a weapon to wield power in a man's world? We may as well hark back to the glory days of the 1950s when life for women was so much simpler:


Gender aside, I'll be giving my full support to those Cornish boys Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth and enjoying the series for the sake of food glorious food. May the best man win.