For years, men have shied away from the home kitchen, mainly because they don’t know how to cook. However, more and more men are breaking that stereotype. We explore this rising trend of men cooking at home more often and why you should too.
The man of the kitchen
The desire to cook is not usually intrinsic to many men. It’s tedious, time-consuming and after a long day of work, not many of us are willing to put in that extra time and effort to cook up a meal. However, the media has come up with some clever ways to entice men to get cooking.
One strategy employed is adding the manliness factor to home cooking. Many men often have the impression that cooking is too “feminine” and that’s why they stay away from it. This could be due to the hunter-gatherer mindset in men that makes us feel in charge of the heavy-duty work. Male celebrity chefs in the industry play a part in changing that perception by creating this masculine image around cooking and the “foodie culture”, thus acting as role models for men to start learning to cook.
Another factor is the difference in views and attitudes towards cooking in both men and women. Men see learning to cook as a hobby, something they do when they feel like it — to impress a date or for a special occasion. To women, on the other hand, home cooking is more of a responsibility. This difference influences the type of media produced for both genders. Content for men is more experimental but for women, it’s more focused around quick and easy recipes that save time and effort.
Men are also naturally more competitive so when they successfully complete a dish, they will want to show off their efforts and compare their skills with others. This fuels their drive to keep doing more and keep on doing better.
Moving from the great outdoors to indoors
One of the few times men prefer to cook is when they’re outdoors, be it flipping patties on the barbecue for a party or over the fireplace while camping. If this is your idea of cooking, you’re not alone — a 2015 report states that men are twice as likely to take charge of grilling duties in the household compared to women. The feeling of cooking food over an open fire just gives off an air of machismo that men crave.
While this is a good start to learning to cook, cooking at home can be just as empowering. It might require more skills and techniques but once you master some fancy knife skills and work on your pan-flipping, you can look just as cool in the kitchen. Even professional chefs are starring in their own home cooking shows that focus more on how you can cook up delicious, restaurant-worthy dishes in the comfort of your own home.
Home kitchen vs Professional kitchen
Another example of the gender divide in cooking can be seen when cooking becomes a job. Ironically, there are more men in professional kitchens than at home. In fact, 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women run only 19.7% of restaurant kitchens, even though 47% of America’s workforce is female and 51% of the Culinary Institute of America students are female.
This proves that the concept of men not liking to cook is only half-correct; men just prefer to cook professionally. However, cooking domestically doesn’t have to be any less fulfilling, even if it might not be your main career. Maybe you can even get your spouse or partner to help you out at first so you can learn from each other, that way both parties can be involved.
Male home cooks on the internet
You’ve heard of famous celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey but watching them cook up amazing dishes with ease can be quite intimidating, especially for beginners. Here are some popular home cooks who might not be chefs but are just as passionate about sharing their love for cooking with others.
Have you ever wondered how that dish from your favorite movie or cartoon would taste like? Andrew aka Binging with Babish (yes, Babish as in Oliver Babish from West Wing) answers that question by turning foods from fiction into reality. Sometimes the results are…less than appetizing but he always puts his own twist on them after.
He has a series called Basics with Babish that shares some basic tips and techniques for cooking some staple meals. He then livestreams the cooking process the following week on his Twitch to demonstrate how to make the recipe featured in the episode.
Kevin aka Fit Men Cook aims to make cooking easy and healthy for men. He hopes to prove that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating bland foods every day and that food can be nutritious and delicious at the same time. His recipes are great to try out if you’re working on getting fitter and don’t want to mess up your diet routine.
You might recognize Mike from the MTV International show Brothers Green Eat, his previous creative venture with his brother Josh. After the brothers went their separate ways earlier this year, Mike took over their YouTube channel and rebranded it under the name Pro Home Cooks. He continues to share his love for home cooking by sharing useful tips and tricks on how to cook up delicious meals at home.
Greg’s channel How to Drink isn’t really about cooking per se but it might motivate you to get in the kitchen to make your own drinks. His channel is similar to Binging with Babish — creating alcoholic drinks from TV shows, movies, books and more. Making drinks might not require as many skills as cooking does, but it’s definitely still a useful skill to pick up if you’re a beginner in the kitchen.
For more cocktail recipes, check out our article on classic cocktails that you can make at home.
Are you ready to take up the challenge?
Learning to cook can be a daunting task for most of us but it’s an important skill to have. It teaches you independence, saves you time and money and might and it impresses the ladies. Most importantly, it gives you a sense of achievement of creating something and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor afterward. So get in the kitchen, put on that apron, and get cooking!