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Chef talk: Kelly Weber 

WHO: Kelly Weber, a recent Johnson & Wales University graduate, who was the head line chef at M5 Modern Mediterranean Restaurant and is now in the kitchen with Chef Tom Condron at recently opened The Liberty, 1821 South Blvd.

Creative Loafing: You told me once that your height was an advantage in the kitchen. Is this still true?

Kelly Weber: This statement is still very true, and being taller than normal for my gender is something I am thankful for every day. My height helps me carry out certain tasks quicker and helps me reach higher items in the kitchen with ease. I also feel that people are quicker to respect a taller female in the kitchen because it is easier for taller females to accomplish certain kitchen duties without assistance.

What is your career path? What will you be doing at Liberty?

I am focusing on learning as much as I can in the next few years. Working with Chef Tom is a great opportunity to expand my culinary knowledge. I have looked up to him for several years now, and I will try to be his shadow as much as possible during my time with him. I would like to travel after The Liberty and work under other talented chefs in an effort to learn as much as I can about the art of preparing food.

Why have I found so few women in charge of the kitchens -- except at ethnic restaurants -- in Charlotte? Is this changing?

I think people are so used to seeing kitchens staffed and run by males that they are more skeptical towards the large amount of females moving into the Charlotte culinary scene. Personally, I welcome this skepticism and love the opportunity to showcase my passion and talent. Charlotte is still a fairly small city and I believe in the next few years there will be a stronger female presence in our culinary community. I believe females, despite being the minority, have to be willing to prove their worth in the kitchen and should use the added scrutiny as an opportunity to really shine in the face of doubt.

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