Rachel Khoo attacks “pathetic” lack of female chefs on TV

"If I were really ugly and fat, I don’t think I’d have had the same chance,” says Khoo, who believes men and women on TV are treated differently


TV chef Rachel Khoo says there are not enough female cooks on British TV, and brands their absence “pathetic”.


“It’s great that Mary Berry got a primetime TV show, but I don’t think there are enough women chefs on TV,” she tells the new issue of Radio Times. “I think they should give an opportunity to others. I mean otherwise it’s Lorraine and Nigella. Where are all the women on Channel 4? It’s pathetic.”

The major chefs currently presenting for Channel 4 are the all-male trio of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver. 

Khoo adds that the women’s chef market is “saturated” on TV and blames sexism for the plight of her fellow female cookery presenters.

“You’re competing with a saturated market and I’m not as established as Nigella [Lawson] or Lorraine [Pascale]. You are also up against a lot of things as a woman. Last time there was a fat woman chef was the Two Fat Ladies, and they called them Two Fat Ladies!

“There are male chefs who are bigger, but they don’t call them fat. As a woman you have to tick all these boxes to be able to be on TV. I know I look a certain way and that’s partly why I’m on TV. If I were really ugly and fat, I don’t think I’d have had the same chance.”

Khoo’s BBC2 series Paris Kitchen aired two years ago but was not recommissioned by the Corporation despite averaging nearly 2 million viewers.


She will present two new Kitchen Notebook series concurrently on digital channel Good Food from Monday June 9, with one about London’s thriving food scene and the other focusing on cosmopolitan centres such as Istanbul and Stockholm.