Toronto restaurant Weslodge today issued an apology (of sorts) for what former pastry-chef Kate Burnham describes as chronic, tolerated, sexual harassment in their kitchen.

Inspired by Burnham’s bravery, I started to let loose on Twitter.

At first the flood of support was overwhelming. But I noticed that my colleagues in Toronto’s restaurant industry were keeping mum. Then this dude, Harrison Hennick, the chef at Furlough, told me and everyone else to just shut up.

Others tried to police me for my choice of venue.


Important to note that it wasn’t just guys throwing shade on this whole topic.  Check out the internalized misogyny displayed by The Montreal Gazette’s restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman. Her Facebook reaction to Kate Burnham’s workplace harrassment: “why didn’t she quit? Not hard to find a job plating desserts in a restaurant.”

She followed that up on Twitter with more of the same:

ANYHOW, I started talking about organizing a conference to deal with sexism in the restaurant industry. I called it:

KITCHEN BITCHES: smashing the patriarchy one plate at a time 

This helpful bro-chef objected to my language.

He eventually came around.

Some pushback continued, but I was encouraged by support like this:

The conference idea picked up steam and a slew of media picked up on the effort. This of course led to the accusation that I was exploiting Kate’s story.

Word of the effort reached the lovely Hugh Acheson:

The upshot is this conference is happening, on September 3rd at Revival in Toronto. Here’s the plan so far:

Helen Rosner will speak on responsible journalism

Amanda Cohen is going to discuss how the whole system is broken

Jared Bland will moderate a panel that includes Jessica Koslow, Hugh Acheson, Sophia Banks and others.

Please come. Website will be and email is [email protected]


Jen Agg owns the Black Hoof in Toronto. Follow her @TheBlackHoof

I think you should be getting our newsletter

Get a weekly note from David about our top stories.

This is a good thing that we do. You'll like this.