Earlier this month Nespresso brought together a panel of leading figures in the UK hospitality sector to examine the integral role women play in the industry and the difference they make, as well as delving into the current state of responsible sourcing and the importance restaurants and hotels place on this.
Hosted at two-Michelin-starred restaurant Bibendum, the panel included Michelin-starred chefs Daniel Clifford, Michael Wignall and Claude Bosi. And, alongside them a collective of women who have carved successful careers in the industry including, Julie Gallacher, sustainability lead at Nespresso; Jessica Wragg, a successful butcher at Ginger Pig; Sandia Chang, sommelier at Bubbledogs; and former winner of National Chef of the Year, Ruth Hansom.
With more prominence now being placed on sustainability, coupled with the ongoing debate around the number of women in the food and drink industry, the Nespresso #TheDifferenceSheMakes campaign aims to empower women in coffee farming and highlight the positive impact this can have on the economic and social development of millions of people.
Natalia Ribbe, co-founder of Ladies of Restaurants who chaired the session, asked the panellists for their views on the lack of women in hospitality in the UK. Bosi commented: “Five out of 17 chefs in Bibendum are women. There is maybe less swearing with the girls in the kitchen, but the women are definitely more competitive.”
Wignall added: “Staff are hard to come by in general and I get fewer female CVs. But I agree with Claude women bring a calm and organisation to the kitchen.”
Clifford said he had relied on women in the past – to be his buffer, and that “you don’t choose a chef based on their sex. Just on their talent, their passion, their precision, and their organisation.”
All the panellists agreed that there was a problem with chefs coming into the industry for the wrong reasons – “just wanting to be cool!”
In terms of sustainability, Clifford stated that the provenance and the journey of our food and drink was very important and encouraged consumers to buy more from garden centres, farm shops, local butchers and fishmongers.
Jessica Wragg, online operations manager and butcher at the Ginger Pig, commented: “There has been a shift in customers wanting to know where their meat is coming from. People are starting to weigh up the lower cost of a cheap chicken (for example) and what it does to your body. And there is a trend for less meat but better meat, that is well looked after and well-produced.”
The menu incorporated Bosi’s current signature dish of chicken liver parfait and brioche, served with a Nespresso Exclusive Selection Nepal Lamjung jus; grilled duck, white asparagus and hibiscus and olive oil, lime and Gariguette strawberry parfait paired with Nespresso Exclusive Selection Kilimanjaro Peaberry coffee.
Francisco Nogueira, managing director ofNespresso UK and Ireland, said: “For more than 30 years, Nespresso has been putting sustainability at the heart of what we do. We recognise that women play a big role in coffee farming so it’s crucial that they have access to the same knowledge, training and tools as men. That’s why we’ve made gender equality a key priority of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program.
“By improving women’s access to our training, we’re helping more farmers learn techniques to improve the quality of their coffee and increase the productivity of their farms, meaning they earn a higher income, year on year. Women currently make up 31% of Nespresso’s agronomists globally – this can be compared to the global average of 15% (according to World Bank estimates).”