How a Cleaning Lady Became One of Argentina’s Only Female Grill Chefs

(Munchies) Asado. A beef-dominated barbecue extravaganza using the entire spectrum of a cow (including chitlins, sweetbreads, brain, skirt steak, fillet, and short ribs), devouring asado in Argentina is as regular an activity as bowel movements.

Asadora Virginia Lázaro.
Asadora Virginia Lázaro.

Pioneered by Argentina’s gauchos (cowboys), who’d hack up unsuspecting bovines roaming the vast pampas flatlands in the 18th century and now replicated by millions every weekend, it’s an industry still dominated by men. From choosing wood over coal to stoking embers and flipping the enormous racks of meat, manning the parrilla (grill) is very much a “guy” job. Womenfolk get to dally about with lettuce and tomatoes, lay the table, and, ah yes, wash up.

So, how did a humble cleaning lady with no barbecuing experience land the top job of womaning the grill at one of Argentina’s biggest wineries?

It’s not as if the stars were alined in Virginia Lázaro’s favour. A quietly spoken woman who still lives with her parents in Perdriel, Mendoza, the country’s main wine-producing province, Lázaro spent the past 11 years making ends meet as a cleaner.

For the rest of this, please visit Munchies, 5 September 2016

Ph: Sorrel Moseley-Williams

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