Over many years of covering the food scene in Scotland I’ve seen huge advances in the feminisation of the industry in this country: more female chefs (yay), restaurateurs, sommeliers (sommelieres?), front of house/general managers, farmers, producers and entrepreneurs - to name a few. So while I was thrilled to be asked onto the panel of speakers for the launch of Women in the Food Industry (WIFI) Scotland in the week of International Women’s Day 2019 - a gig I sadly can’t do as I’m travelling - I can’t help but wonder why it’s taken so long to get this going! Nevertheless I’m delighted to see that the gender pay gap, sexism in the workplace and other barriers to career progression will be explored along with the success stories by an interesting (all-women) panel of speakers ….
The free event, which takes place from 4pm-6pm on Monday March 4, 2019, at the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine, is organised by Sound Bite PR in collaboration with London-based Women in the Food Industry.
Jessica Sneddon (below right), Director of Sound Bite PR, said: “We are delighted to be launching Scottish Women in the Food Industry to celebrate the fantastic female talent working in the industry in Scotland. While we have plenty of examples of major success stories, there is still some way to go to overcome the challenges and barriers that women continue to face in their careers.
“Scottish Women in the Food Industry aims to provide a platform for women to come together, share their thoughts, discuss pertinent industry issues and celebrate their successes as we work towards an even brighter future for women working in Scotland’s vibrant and fast-evolving food industry.”
Chaired by Fiona Richmond (above, centre), Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, the panel will include Fiona Burrell, Principal (top right), The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School; Sumayya Usmani (far left), food educator; Jack Mitchell, Director, TRUEfoods Ltd; Julie Macleod, Chef Patron, Julie's Kopitiam; and Dale MacPhee, General Manager, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian.
With a focus on the theme for International Women's Day 2019, #Balanceforbetter, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world, issues such as the gender pay gap, opportunities and challenges in the workplace and barriers to career progression will be explored.
Sumayya Usmani said: “Coming from a country where women find is hard to make their way in many careers; it is amazing to see that many women struggle with the same problems in the West. The food world particularly, is a tough one to be a woman - especially as a chef.
“However, it is really encouraging to see that with hard work, resilience and commitment, women chefs are slowly working to find their way to the top. But the struggle isn’t over, and together we make a stronger force to be reckoned with. As a food writer, I find many more women taking this food career path, one that I find a supportive space. This is an evidence of the fact that women’s creativity and power is best harnessed by working together with passion and dedication.”
Julie Macleod, Chef Patron, Julie's Kopitiam in Glasgow, added: “Cooking is something that has been extremely close to my heart from a young age. This passion has brought me to open a restaurant and allowed me to work with some of the most inspirational women in the food industry. We work every day in order to combat machoism within kitchens and squash the acceptance of daily sexism in the industry.”
Women in the Food Industry Scotland is open to anyone working in the food, drink and hospitality industry or anyone with an interest in the subject. Register for free at https://bit.ly/2tv7q3y