Millennials, Gen Z Males Have No Problem Cooking For Their Spouses

Millennials, Gen Z Males Have No Problem Cooking For Their Spouses

Millennials and Generation Z males have no qualms with preparing a meal for their family, particularly, when their spouses had a long hard day at work.

This may have to do with the recent influx of males (born in the 80s and 90s) in the culinary industry, who are largely training as culinary and pastry chefs.

Speaking to a number of male chefs-in-training at a Hansik (Korean Cuisine) Class at the Red Dish Culinary School Abuja, LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that the recent increase in number of males in the culinary world, though still disproportionate to their female counterparts, is attributed to different reasons.

First, is the drive for greener pastures and an expanded means of income. Second, is a passing interest in cooking, and finally, a passion for cooking.

Aspiring chef, Dominic Ihediobi didn’t always want to be a chef. In fact, he admitted that yam porridge was the only dish he could make prior to attending culinary school. The ex-banker happened upon a culinary career in his search for additional means of income that gives him freedom of movement.

He has not regretted the choice, and went on to highlight how much discipline, self-love and self-respect it has brought to his life.

“Being a chef has helped me professionally and in other areas of my life. I am more organized than I used to be.  I am furthering my career in cooking. I am fine with making a meal for my wife after a hard long day.”

Culinary Trainee, Louis Mike Okonoke had never liked cooking. Rather, it was an interest he picked up post university that can change once he develops other interests. “I know some people would say “I have always loved cooking. That was not the case for me. It was more about me challenging myself.”

He too is neither averse to making a healthy meal for his spouse, should the occasion call for it. “You said wife, right? I would do anything to put a smile on my wife’s face.”

But for a considerable number of males in the culinary industry like husband and father of four, Michael Atolagbe, cooking is a passion. A passion that contrary to the traditional African culture setting where a man is not meant to enter the kitchen, has been slowing but assuredly changing from the Baby Boomers (50s -60s) and Generation X (60s-80s) who grew up in an all-male children’s family; families with many sons but a single female child; or those with first-born males like Okonoke, who had to do most of the cooking while growing up.

“I have been cooking for a long time. I am passionate about cooking and I am used to cooking.” Rather than be put off cooking, he said overtime, the kitchen became his favourite place. “So, I thought I might attend a culinary school to sharpen my cooking skills; it might put me ahead of others. When I am home, nobody enters the kitchen. That’s my place,” said Atolagbe.

Conversely, men’s growing interest in the culinary profession could be for more practical reasons – like the economic benefits.

Chef-in-training, Ita Benson Onuigbo says it’s all about economic impact and image. Men, she said, cook professionally for money, whilst women are relegated to cooking at home at zero cost. Hence, in a female dominated industry and gender assigned role, most employers prefer male chefs.

“Men cook and make money, but at home they expect their wives to cook. But women are struggling to take back that space, and saying, “we cannot just cook without making money.”

“Outside the shores of Nigeria, the culinary job is for both male and female. In Nigeria, when you talk about househelp or caregiver, the picture that comes to people’s mind is a woman. But when you talk about a chef in a restaurant then a male image comes to mind. It shouldn’t be that way,” charged Onuigbo.

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