Women in restaurant industry experience more sexual harassment from customers than in

Women in the restaurant industry experience more sexual harassment from customers than in the kitchens, one of Britain’s top female chefs has said.Clare Smyth, who provided catering for the wedding reception of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, has two Michelin stars at her London restaurant, Core, and previously ran the three-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.While professional kitchens have a reputation for being testosterone-fuelled, Smyth said that most inappropriate behaviour comes from drunken male customers behaving badly towards waitresses.”I see a lot of things. Believe me, when you work front of house at a restaurant and you’ve got middle aged men who have had a few drinks and you’re a pretty young woman – the stuff that gets said is absolutely disgusting,” Smyth said.I’m really focused on that kind of thing, and giving them the tools to be able to deal with it confidently, because how do they become leaders and managers when they’re being patronised by the guests, put down all the time, asked, ‘What time do you finish work, sweetheart?'”It’s something that’s really rife in my industry, so it’s something I really battle against.” “One of my guests who I’ve known for a long time, I’ve had to ask not to come back to the restaurant because I saw him do something. The young lady didn’t want to say anything because she felt it was her job, and that made me really angry,” Smyth said.”I absolutely refuse to accept anything like that at all in my workplace. I’m very supportive of the young ladies and I see it as my duty to make sure they make it all the way through to the top and change things so we won’t have to talk about it any more.”Maitre d’s can also be patronising to young women, she added. “There’s a lot of older maitre d’s. So a lot time [sexism] is front of house, not actually from chefs.”Smyth said of Gordon Ramsay, her mentor for many years: “Everyone thinks that Gordon might be a bit of a bully but actually it was him who said, ‘You don’t always have to like the people you work with. Don’t let them hold you back. Focus on you.’ And that’s something I’ve always done in my career.”Smyth, 40, was recently named the world’s best female chef at an awards ceremony in Spain, and admitted to mixed feelings about the accolade because she does not believe women should be in a separate category to men. Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Speaking at the Harper’s Bazaar Summit in London, Smyth disclosed that she had gone as far as banning one long-standing customer over his unacceptable behaviour towards a female member of staff. read more