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#2 Food Trend for 2011: Men in Aprons

A gender role reversal is bubbling up in the kitchen

This is one of The Food Channel's Top 10 Food Trends for 2011, based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves®, the International Food Futurists® and Mintel International. For the full list, click here.


A gender role reversal is bubbling up in the kitchen. The slumping economy has hit men harder than women, with job losses in traditionally male fields such as finance and construction. Women on the other hand, are employed in fields that are expected to flourish in the years ahead. As Mintel points out, it’s left many couples with a new balance of power: female breadwinner, male bread buyer (and baker). The rise of the Sheconomy, TIME magazine calls it, and it’s expected to last for a while. For every two guys who graduate from college, three women do. The recession is only part of it. Men have been influenced by macho chefs on TV’s cooking shows, where it’s all about culinary competition, achievement and triumph. Plus, what guy doesn’t love a cool new gadget or tool? There are lots of those in the kitchen these days.

Compared to 1970, men have tripled the amount of time they’re spending in the kitchen today, and while most women welcome the help in the kitchen, some have misgivings. Atlantic Monthly columnist Hanna Rosin has written about the Rise of the Kitchen Bitch, the husband who “lords over the kitchen in an all-too-manly way, with his scientific cookbooks and farmers’ market snobbery and gadgets,” critiquing his wife’s food prep based on something he saw Emeril do.

The rise of the male metrosexual in recent years may have something to do with it as well. Those TV chefs with their adoring (mostly female) fans have made it more than permissible for men to don an apron; it’s actually become quite fashionable to do so while chopping vegetables and experimenting with obscure spices and exotic ingredients. As Rosin writes, men cook “to show off for an admiring crowd or simply for the pleasure of it. Women cook because they’re expected to and because the people around them have to eat.”

But as the jobless rate continues to hover near 10 percent, look for more men to cook, not just for fun, but also because their wives will be working late to help fuel the Sheconomy. Read the full top ten. To view our Top Ten Foods to Watch in 2011, click here.     

Our Editor's Favorite Trends

For evidence, read:

Caution: Men Cooking

The Rise of the Sheconomy

More Men Manning the Family Meal Making 

The Rise of the Kitchen Bitch 

Get Cooking with the Men's Club