SOC 501 – “You’re a donkey!”: Food Media and Violence in Kitchens


Food media is relatively new but its popularity is without a doubt. Popular food shows such as Hell’s Kitchen have propelled chefs to fame, but at what cost? In this episode, Ellen and Penn discuss their recent viral (can we use that word?) article on how food media normalizes violent behavior in commercial kitchens. Food media that glorifies violence from psychological to sexual may have an influence on how violence is perceived in the workspace of the kitchen, ultimately making it seem ‘normal’ and at times, even necessary as a tool to manage the stress of the occupation and ensuring productivity.


Violence, normalization, commercial kitchens, workplace violence


  1. Ellen and Pennʻs article – “The Normalization of Violence in Commercial Kitchens Through Food Media”
  2. Kenji Lopez-Altʻs IG post that made us famous
  3. His book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
  4. Our interview on New York magazine’s Grub Street column! “How Celebrity Chefs Warped Our View of Real-World Restaurant Abuse “I realized, this is abnormal.””
  5. Study Reveals How Shows Like Hell’s Kitchen Are Making The Restaurant Industry Worse
  6. The ‘idiot sandwich’ skit from The Late Late Show with James Corden
  7. Check out our previous podcast episode on violence: SOC110 – Violence: Nature VS Nurture
  8. The Catcher in the Rye and the shooting of John Lennon
  9. Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
  10. Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen by Harris & Giuffre
  11. Curious about how discomfort and heat has been link with increased aggression and violence? Check out these two studies:
    1. Hot and Crowded: Influences of Population Density and Temperature on Interpersonal Affective Behavior” by Griffit and Veitch
    2. Hot Years and Serious and Deadly Assault: Empirical Test of the Heat Hypothesis” by Anderson et al.
  12. Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work by Gary Alan Fine
  13. Naked ‘Nevermind’ baby sues Nirvana for ‘child pornography’
  14. Here’s our article again in case you missed it

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