Fairfield County is full of trailblazing women, particularly in the culinary world. Which is why, with 2018 being proclaimed the Year of the Woman, we felt compelled to honor the pioneers among us.
Our series, “It’s A Woman’s World’ is devoted to Fairfield County female influencers who’ve forged their own paths, often in food-related fields long dominated by men.
Whether farming the land, bringing healthy food to the masses, feeding an entrepreneurial spirit or injecting feminism with food, these groundbreaking ladies have set a new definition of women’s work, creating new paths and setting examples for those who follow.
How'd they do it? Read on. This week, we feature Kaline Capps, Executive Chef, Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant in Norwalk. Stay tuned to see who’s next. And feel free to send suggestions for your candidates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaline Capps, Executive Chef, Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant
Why are you a pioneer in the culinary industry?
I was born in Brazil and went to school to study law. I was almost finished when I realized it was not what I wanted to do with my life. My father had a farm with a lot of vegetables. I attended one cooking class and knew that was what I wanted to do. I decided to go to culinary school in Brazil and I opened a restaurant on my father’s farm. It was very rustic—I used vegetables that I picked and fish that I caught. People loved the food—there was nothing else like it in the area. Soon after, I met my husband and we opened a second restaurant together. We worked together for about five years, until he decided to come back to his home country (United States). I stayed behind and came here in 2015. I met a Sous Chef at Barcelona and started working the salad station. Eventually, I worked my way up, learned other stations and became the Sous Chef. When they opened Barcelona in Waypointe, I was the Sous Chef and am now the Executive Chef.
What is it like being a woman in the male dominated culinary industry?
In my home country, Brazil, the woman cooks and the man works outside of the home. Women cook and the men sit down to eat. That is how I grew up.
Here, in the U.S., it is of course different. When I started working in the culinary industry here, it was strange because it was all men. The men did not expect me to know how to run the line. They did not think I would be able to handle it when the restaurant got busy. They always offered to carry things for me. I started saying, “no, I got this,” and it sort of became my motto. They saw me carrying everything myself and watched me work under pressure. That is how I got the respect. Now, it is not a problem.
Oh, what’s next? I am always trying to improve myself and my team. I want to be able to build a very strong team and teach others what I have learned. I like to be constantly developing. I like working with Barcelona because I can use different ingredients (some from our very own farm, Farmteca). I am very excited to be going on the next trip to Spain (in just a couple weeks!) with some of the Barcelona team and I am looking forward to bringing new ideas back home. So far, the journey with Barcelona has taught me so much and I am excited to keep learning more. I am looking forward to what’s next.