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Compass Group UK & Ireland hosts event championing female chefs

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services firm, has just hosted a networking event for female chefs to celebrate ‘Women in Food’, held at the Wellcome Trust, London.

The event took place on 1 February and was attended by around 100 people, including female chefs from across the industry. It was to support Compass’ ‘Women in Food’ programme, which aims to encourage females in the industry, with an overall goal of women forming 50% of the chef workforce at Compass by 2020.

Guests heard from key speakers including Dipna Anand, Claire Clark and Rosie Dickinson who took part in a panel discussion on the challenges women face in the culinary sector, hosted by Jeremy Ford, Executive Chef at Restaurant Associates, the fine-dining division of Compass Group UK & Ireland.

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.

Claire Clark, award-winning pastry chef and judge on Bake Off Crème de la Crème, 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.”

Dipna Anand, co-owner of The Brilliant Restaurant and Indian Cookery Course Instructor, commented: “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.”

Rosie Dickinson, owner of The Healthy Juice Company, 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.”

Women in Food launched last year to tackle the shortage of female chefs and as part of the programme Compass has pledged to support female talent from apprenticeship to senior leadership level through development and training pathways. The scheme aims to provide ongoing support to help women take full advantage of development opportunities and to help build courage and credibility to best shape their careers.

Fiona Ryland, HR Director at Compass Group UK & Ireland, 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. This programme focuses on providing our managers with the tools they need to become great leaders, helping to make sure their teams are enjoying what they do, feel motivated and engaged. It’s also about helping colleagues to take initiative and make every day count.