Foodservice firm Compass Group UK & Ireland hosted a networking event for female chefs this week at the Wellcome Trust in London.
The ‘Women in Food' event took place on Wednesday (1 February), designed to support Compass' Women in Food programme, which pledged to have women account for 50% of its chef workforce by 2020. Around 100 people attended the event, including female chefs from across the industry.
Guests heard from key speakers including Brilliant restaurant co-owner Dipna Anand, pastry chef Claire Clark and Healthy Juice Company owner Rosie Dickinson, who took part in a panel discussion on the challenges women face in the culinary sector. The discussion was hosted by Jeremy Ford, executive chef at Restaurant Associates, Compass' fine-dining division.
Dennis Hogan, managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland, and co-chairs of the Women in Food programme board, Fiona Ryland, HR director, and Matt Gillison, chief procurement officer at Foodbuy, also addressed the audience during the event and gave an insight into the initiative.
Women in Food launched last year to tackle the shortage of female chefs in the industry. As part of the programme Compass pledged to support female talent from apprenticeship to senior leadership level through development and training pathways.
Clark said: "It is important to train and provide the right support to female chefs to attain gender equality in the culinary world, so it is great to see Compass tackling the shortage of female chefs through its Women in Food programme."
Anand said: "I am honoured to be invited to speak at the Women in Food event, I have been working with Compass over the past year and it is great to see the business focusing on a brilliant initiative to get more female chefs into the industry."
Dickinson added: "The Women in Food programme shows Compass is taking positive steps to get more women into the industry and to provide the relevant support needed to enhance and build their careers."
Ryland also said: "We are a people powered business and we work hard to provide the right support to our colleagues. Through the Women in Food initiative, we hope to maintain and further encourage a fair and inclusive workforce for our female chefs. This event gave internal and external chefs an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals from across the industry. I believe we can make a real difference by encouraging more women to join the culinary world."
The Women in Food initiative is part of Compass Group UK & Ireland's ‘Great Days at Work' colleague commitment programme.
Video from The Caterer archives