Poppy O'Toole shares horrific sexism she's faced in kitchens, including being told 'sit on my lap' - freetxp

Poppy O’Toole shares horrific sexism she’s faced in kitchens, including being told ‘sit on my lap’

A Michelin-trained chef who became a TikTok sensation after losing her job in lockdown has revealed the horrific sexist abuse she faced working in top kitchens, including being told ‘sit on my lap’ during a job interview and being sexually harassed by employers.

Poppy O’Toole, 27, from London, started working in kitchens when she was just 18.

When the country was plunged into lockdown in 2020, she was made redundant from her 70-hour a week job in a top kitchen. Since she’s become a social media star racking up more than 2million followers on TikTok where she shares cooking videos.

But since leaving professional kitchens the influencer has spoken out on the ‘horrific’ sexism and toxic practices that are ‘common place’ in high-end restaurants.

Poppy O'Toole, 27, from London, started working in kitchens when she was just 18. When the country was plunged into lockdown in 2020, she was made redundant from her 70-hour a week job in a top kitchen.  Since she's become a social media star racking up more than 2million followers on TikTok where she shares cooking videos.  But since leaving professional kitchens the influencer has spoken out on the 'horrific' sexism and toxic practices that are 'common place' in high-end restaurants

Poppy O’Toole, 27, from London, started working in kitchens when she was just 18. When the country was plunged into lockdown in 2020, she was made redundant from her 70-hour a week job in a top kitchen. Since she’s become a social media star racking up more than 2million followers on TikTok where she shares cooking videos. But since leaving professional kitchens the influencer has spoken out on the ‘horrific’ sexism and toxic practices that are ‘common place’ in high-end restaurants

Taking to Instagram to mark International Women’s Day this week, she said it would be ‘hypocritical to focus on celebrating an industry when there’s so much need for change’.

‘Women make up less than 17 per cent of the chefs in the UK,’ she wrote in a caption to her 270,000 Instagram followers.

‘I’ll continue to be open and honest about my own experiences in a bid to encourage women to equally speak up and push for change.

‘Last time I spoke about this, my inbox was flooded with women talking about similar and worse experiences.

‘This needs to change.

‘Let’s celebrate the kitchens where sexual harassment, toxic masculinity and ego trips are not the norm. And let’s push and encourage girls to work in an industry we can be proud of. ‘

She added a series of slides explaining things she ‘experienced or heard working as a female chef in the restaurant industry’.

Taking to Instagram to mark International Women's Day this week, she said it would be 'hypocritical to focus on celebrating an industry when there's so much need for change'.

Taking to Instagram to mark International Women’s Day this week, she said it would be ‘hypocritical to focus on celebrating an industry when there’s so much need for change’.

Comments she’s been told include: ‘women do not have the fame fire in their belly as men do,’ and ‘Let me tell you and the about an explicit dream I had about you’.

She added that she was once told ‘sit on my lap’ as she talked into an interview and that an employer once told her ‘no-one will want to employ you in your late 20s as you’ll just get pregnant and people won’ t to pay maternity leave ‘.

Poppy also revealed she was told she was ‘only promoted because the boss fancies her’ and has had her ‘a *** slapped’ as well as receiving propositions and explicit texts from an employer.

Since becoming an online sensation, Poppy has also been called a ‘s ** g’ and ‘s ** t’ by trolls, as well as being told she ‘isn’t a real chef’ and that she’s a ‘cook not a manager’.

The influencer also revealed that after speaking up about a renowned chef referring to her as ‘some bird’ she was branded a ‘feminist gobs ****’ and told to ‘calm down’ and ‘grow up’.

The influencer also revealed that after speaking up about a renowned chef referring to her as 'some bird' she was branded a 'feminist gobs ****' and told to 'calm down' and 'grow up'.

The influencer also revealed that after speaking up about a renowned chef referring to her as ‘some bird’ she was branded a ‘feminist gobs ****’ and told to ‘calm down’ and ‘grow up’.

Last year, Poppy said one of the leading chefs at the forefront of hospitality’s #MeToo movement as dozens of chefs have called for an end to the ‘culture of abuse’.

In July, two staff members at Tom Kitchin’s restaurants were suspended following allegations former workers were ‘punched and dragged by their collars, denied food, water or any breaks’ during ‘grueling’ 18-hour shifts.

Since, chefs across the UK have spoken out at their ‘lack of surprise’ saying it’s ‘commonplace’ and ‘everyone in the industry knows what’s going on’.

Poppy wrote on Instagram at the time: ‘I’ve worked in six kitchens over my career. | have had to leave one job after arguing to be paid the minimum wage.

‘I have had to leave one job after a much older employer forced themselves on me and tried to kiss me. | have had to leave another job after a much older employer sexually harassed me on multiple occasions. | reached out to colleagues and was told to ignore it.

Since sharing the post this week, other female chefs shared similar experiences.  Private chef Cândida Batista, wrote she could not get time off to care for her sick child and was fired after reporting a sexual assault

Since sharing the post this week, other female chefs shared similar experiences. Private chef Cândida Batista, wrote she could not get time off to care for her sick child and was fired after reporting a sexual assault

FEMAIL has contacted Poppy for comment.

Since sharing the post this week, other female chefs shared similar experiences.

Private chef Cândida Batista, wrote she could not get time off to care for her sick child and was fired after reporting a sexual assault.

Chef Patron of The Local Barbados, Sophie Michell wrote: ‘Totally agree with you, and I had all of this and more. It actually makes my blood boil still. Our industry is great but sexism is everywhere. Keep on doing what you are doing! ‘

Another added: ‘Had all of those + 30 years ago when I started. So much for becoming a more equal society ‘.

Chef Cat Food added: ‘It needs to change! My worst experience was being burnt on the back of my arm because the male chef did not respect women in the kitchen. The same guy tried to push me off a 3rd floor fire escape as a joke.

‘Always striving to do my best to be able to hire women and LGBTQ + to offer them a safe place to work’.

Who is Poppy O’Toole? How a Michelin-trained chef who was made redundant in lockdown became a viral success with potato videos

A chef who lost her job at the start of lockdown has revealed how ‘playing around on TikTok’ reignited her love of cooking and lead to a career as an influencer with 1.6 million followers and even a book deal.

Michelin-trained Poppy O’Toole, 27, from London, started working in kitchens when she was just 18. When the country was plunged into lockdown in 2020, she was made redundant from her 70-hour a week job in a top kitchen.

With no way to pay rent, she moved back into her family home for what she thought would be a two-week lockdown where her younger siblings introduced her to TikTok.

Just a year later, she is now a huge TikTok star, with a dozens of big names and brands backing her.

Michelin-trained Poppy O'Toole, 27, from London, started working in kitchens when she was just 18, but when the country was plunged into lockdown in 2020, she was made redundant from her 70-hour a week job in a top kitchen .  She is pictured making spudnuts

Michelin-trained Poppy O’Toole, 27, from London, started working in kitchens when she was just 18, but when the country was plunged into lockdown in 2020, she was made redundant from her 70-hour a week job in a top kitchen . She is pictured making spudnuts

The cook has deals with huge companies including American Express – and has expanded beyond just making videos of potatoes, including teaching basic chef techniques to millions, including the perfect way to cut an onion and how to poach an egg, which have both racked up millions of views.

‘Like many chefs last year, my career came to a standstill when lockdown hit and restaurants were closed across the country,’ she told FEMAIL.

‘I was made redundant, before furlough was a word and my employers did not even stick around to try and keep me on.

‘I was left genuinely considering how I was going to pay the rent.

‘I moved back home for what I thought would be about a two week lockdown, felt sorry for myself for about two days and then spend hours scrolling on TikTok and thought… I could do that!

‘Growth was slow to begin with but even one or two comments a day were rewarding.

‘It was not until I started my potato series in November when I went from 100,000 followers to over a million overnight!

The cook has deals with huge companies including American Express - and has expanded beyond just making videos of potatoes, including teaching basic chef techniques to millions, including the perfect way to cut an onion and how to poach an egg, which have both racked up millions of views.  She is pictured making spudnuts

The cook has deals with huge companies including American Express – and has expanded beyond just making videos of potatoes, including teaching basic chef techniques to millions, including the perfect way to cut an onion and how to poach an egg, which have both racked up millions of views. She is pictured making spudnuts

Admitting she felt a sense of ‘relief’ after being let go from a restaurant, Poppy is now a full time influencer.

Just before the third lockdown, Poppy noticed one of her videos about potatoes had racked up more than a million views, and decided to make a series exploring 25 days of potatoes – which saw her following grow even further.

‘I’ve always loved cooking but the work / life balance was always a big thing for me.

‘I felt like I was missing out on so much. But part of me does miss the buzz of fine dining and curating a menu, so my goal is to do pop-ups as soon as I can, as well as working on projects like #ARTFeast which was a special menu to celebrate Amex Gold recently partnering with Deliveroo.

‘I love how it feels like I’m back creatively putting effort into a menu, using my fine dining knowledge again and getting to see how amazing food can make people happy first hand’.

Because she’s gone viral for her passion for potatoes, she now includes them in everything she does.

‘I love potatoes and I have to give credit to a compilation of potatoes I made in which I added a voiceover with a posh overly exaggerated English accent and said “Welcome to Potato TikTok”.

‘It hit more than 20m views and saw more than one million people starting to follow for potato goodness,’ she added.

Leave a Comment