Michael Schulson Cooks for the “Hot Chicks” — and That’s Sexist

Michael Schulson and his wife, Nina Tinari | Photo by HughE Dillon

Usually, discussions about sexism in the restaurant industry focus on discrimination, harassment, and other barriers to success that women chefs face, or on harassment from customers, coworkers, or supervisors that leaves women who work front-of-house unable to do their jobs.

So it’s disappointing, but not surprising, to hear a prominent and successful business owner’s reductive view that his female customers are more desirable (to his business and to everyone else) if they’re “hot.”

Last week, Philly.com published an interview with restaurateur and chef Michael Schulson. Schulson, the owner of Sampan, Graffiti Bar, Double Knot, and Harp & Crown, among others, recaps career ups and downs, confesses his own non-foodie eating habits, and weighs in on the current state of Philly’s food scene — typical topics for this type of Q&A.

At the end of the interview, Schulson is asked why his restaurants are “such a hit with millennial women.” This was his response:

I have a belief, and I’ve said this for 20 years now: You cook for the hot chicks. And I hope nobody takes that the wrong way because it’s not meant to be chauvinistic or anything. When I think of my wife [Nina], I think my wife is very attractive and smart. I think she’s a hot woman. But when we go out to eat, she’s picking where we’re going out to eat, and cooking for the hot chick means you’re cooking a certain type of item, you’re putting crab, shrimp, lobster, filet — those are the kind of things — tuna, they’re looking for the lighter, cleaner things. That’s what women like to eat. So when they look at a restaurant or a menu, they’re going to pick that restaurant. And then take it further, then you have the single guy. Where does the single guy want to go eat? At the restaurant that has the pretty women. And the pretty women are going to be at the restaurant that serves the food that they want to eat.

Whether Schulson realized it or not, his words exemplify the way patriarchy influences the choices both men and women make, from where we spend our Saturday nights to what foods we decide to put in our bodies.

Let’s unpack this, shall we?

Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Juice: A Summer Day Party for LGBTQ Womxn

Juice: A Summer Day Party for LGBTQ Womxn is Saturday, July 22nd.

For hosting a celebration that unites diverse LGBTQ women, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Juice: A Summer Day Party for LGBTQ Womxn. Her Philly MOVES returns with their once-a-month summer day party appreciating LGBTQ women of color during the 4th Annual HoodStock Festival, a community music showcase. Come join these diverse queer women, who have secured their own section, stage, DJ’s, and artists performing during the festival. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 22nd, at Philadelphia Urban Creators, 2315 North 11th Street. Tickets Read more »

What Philly Women Need (By Philly Women)

Clockwise from top left: Shani Akilah, Timaree Schmit, Danielle Currica, Tracey Welson-Rossman, Lynne Abraham and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez | All photographs by Nell Hoving

Philly has been a man’s town for too long. And hey, not to point fingers or anything, but maybe that’s exactly what’s wrong with this place.

Given that women actually make up a majority in Philadelphia — 53 percent, yo — not to mention the state of the world today (you know: 50,000 women taking to the Philly streets last January in protest; your mom joining Pantsuit Nation; Wonder Woman as the superhero du jour), it felt like the right moment to talk about women. To talk to women. And so we did. We asked a wide range of females (and femmes) in this city — teachers, lawyers, activists, mothers, dancers, singers, entrepreneurs, politicians, writers, wives, sexperts — what should come next. What would make their lives, and the lives of other women, better in big and small ways? What, exactly, would they do if they were in charge?

Here, the women have their say. Read more »

Tonight: The Future is Female Festival

The Future is Female fest has been touring the U.S. and Canada all month long.

The Future is Female fest has put on shows in the U.S. and Canada all month long.

All month long, this program of 10-minute plays and staged readings has been popping up across the U.S. and Canada. Tonight The Future is Female Festival touches down in Philly (and three other cities) at Headlong Performance Institute (1170 S. Broad St.).

The lineup is different everywhere it occurs (this is a festival, not a tour), but each is built around the “future is female” theme. And all of the works are written by women, obviously.

Tonight’s program includes: Read more »

Philly’s First-Ever LGBTQ Women’s Week Starts This Weekend

Philly's first-ever LGBTQ Women's week is taking place February 25th to March 4th.

Philly’s first-ever LGBTQ Women’s week is taking place February 25th to March 4th.

“The Revolution,” Philadelphia’s first-ever LGBTQ Women’s Week, is launching this week. Started by The Strong Catalyst, a local lesbian multimedia collective, the event is centered on “bridging the gap between lesbian women and the rest of the LGBTQ women’s community.”

“I began wondering what it would look like to have a weeklong event that was just for LGBTQ women that was socially conscious, charity-focused, and conversation-driven,” Amanda Swiger, co-founder of The Strong Catalyst and executive producer of the event, told G Philly. “After attending Outfest last year for the first time as a community organization and a normal person, I saw things differently. It felt too male, too white, too party driven to actually do our community much good.” Read more »

Philadelphia Region Among Worst for Women-Owned Businesses



Bad news for Philadelphia’s reputation as an inclusive, cutting edge, growing business ecosystem — the Philadelphia region was ranked 90th out of 100 cities for women-owned businesses by WalletHub.

It’s important to note that WalletHub combined Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington together for this ranking, so who knows if Philly would have fared better or worse by itself.

WalletHub found that the Philly region got a total score of 40.84 in business friendliness to women — compared to 70.04 for the No. 1 region Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin in Tennessee. Read more »

Studies: Performance Reviews Are Biased Against Women



As December approaches, many companies will once again start the process of conducting annual performance reviews. Managers will tell employees what they did right and wrong throughout the year and offer advice for improvement. Then most workers will be given a 3 percent raise and sent on their way.

But for women, the performance reviews are more likely to hurt career advancement than help, studies say. Read more »

Bradley Cooper Emerges as Unlikely Gender Pay Gap Hero

The gender pay gap has been a hot topic in all sectors of the business world recently. Politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton will be quick to tell you that women get paid 78 cents on the dollar compared to men for doing the same jobs — but too often the debate gets labeled as a partisan issue, relegating it to hot-headed debates on cable TV news.

But there is one unlikely gender pay gap hero who just might be able to move the needle: Bradley Cooper. In the wake of a revelation that Jennifer Lawrence got paid millions less than her three male co-stars in American Hustle, Cooper told Reuters that he’ll now team up with female co-stars to negotiate salaries before production. Read more »

Study: 94 Percent of Philly’s Top Companies Have a Male CEO



Philadelphia is facing a serious crisis regarding gender equality in the workplace, according to a new study. In fact, women held only 13 percent of board seats and 13 percent of executive positions at the largest 100 public companies in the Philadelphia region in 2014. That’s according to Women on Boards 2015, a report released Tuesday by the Forum of Executive Women. It also found that half of Philly’s top 100 businesses are run by all male executive teams, and 94 percent have a male CEO.

The report offered these striking statistics about Philadelphia’s top 100 companies (ranked by 2014 revenue): Read more »

Meet the Only Philly Company on Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women

Some of the staff at Brownstein Group.

Staff members at Brownstein Group.

Fortune magazine released its 100 Best Workplaces for Women rankings — and just one Philadelphia company made the list: Brownstein Group.

The Center City-based advertising, branding and public relations agency ranked number 60. The 80-employee agency is made up of 61 percent women and all but one person on its management team are women. Read more »

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