About the Project

Mary Farrell, is a professional chef, and PhD researcher investigating gender inequality in the chef profession in Ireland. ‘Step Up to The Plate’ began as an initiative to engage with chefs in Ireland to find out their experiences of working in professional kitchens and if men and women experience their profession differently or otherwise. This website is dedicated to sharing the results of this research.

This research is a self-funded part-time PhD project that began in November 2014 and will come to its conclusion in 2018. No funding from any public body, education or otherwise has been received for this project to date. Having been promised a small amount of money toward conference expenses, ultimately it was not approved. Personal funds and annual leave have been used to present at conferences in Ireland and abroad.

The objectives this research project are to:

  1. present a thoroughly researched and objective analysis of gender equality in the chef profession.
  2. publically share the findings and engage with chefs, their representative bodies, educators and industry to help address the issues raised within this research for women chefs in Ireland.
  3. develop a database of the demographics of the chef profession in Ireland.
  4. To build on this research project in the coming years.


As the research progresses this website will be updated with information and findings.