Women in Food Programme helping to combat the female chef shortage

The Staff Canteen

on international Women's day We take a look at Compass Group UK & Ireland's ‘Women in Food’ programme at Somerset House, London to celebrate female chefs and tackle the female chef shortage.

Attended by around 200 people, guests heard from key speakers including mother and daughter, Giselle and Emily Roux as well as other leading female chefs from the industry.

Emily Roux
Emily Roux

Speaking to us about her involvement, Emily Roux said: “I’m a woman and a chef so Women in Food seems definitely something we should all get behind. I’ve sometimes been alone in the kitchens so it’s definitely something I want to support.”

Giselle Roux added: “There are women succeeding in this business now. It wasn’t the case when I did catering college. Nowadays, you see quite a few female chefs at the top. It has changed for the better and we want to keep that”.

In April last year, Compass Group UK & Ireland became the first company in the industry to tackle the shortage in female chefs through the launch of Women in Food. A key element of this programme is the organisation’s commitment to supporting female chefs in the industry and encouraging more women to consider a career as a chef. 

Other initiatives

Since the launch of Women in Food, Compass has introduced a number of initiatives supporting its female workforce including: 

• ‘Women in Food Ambassador Programme’ a network made up of eight Compass female chefs whose aim is to support and encourage the needs of their female colleagues. 

• The business has launched a range of industry leading personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically for women to further support its diverse female workforce, from chefs to cleaners and security officers. 

• A ‘Maternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave Pack’ has been rolled out across Compass to help inform and support employees who are expecting or adopting a child, as well as those returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

• Compass has launched a new and improved range of EatFair snackbars, a percentage of each bar sold will be donated to support the launch of the Women’s Leadership School for marginalised female farmers in Africa.

Rebecca Marshman
Rebecca Marshman

Rebecca Marshman, who joined The All England Lawn Tennis Club, part of the Compass Group UK & Ireland, as head pastry chef at the beginning of 2017, believes the Women in Food programme is a brilliant way to encourage more female chefs to join the industry.

She said: “I think the best way to get more female chefs into the industry is to have more women as role models who can then mentor and encourage younger people and show them what a great career being a chef can be. It certainly can be challenging but the work comes with great rewards. It’s a fun and exciting career with endless chances to show creativity and passion and this is exactly what we need to get across to young female chefs.”

Speaking about the programme and it’s new initiatives, Dennis Hogan, managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “When we first launched Women in Food our focus was to tackle the shortage in female chefs by encouraging more women to enter and stay in this vibrant industry. However, we wanted to do more to further enhance the support we were providing not only to our chefs but our wider female workforce. So, we have since broadened the programme through a range of initiatives to cater for women who work in various roles.”

It’s clear that the industry needs more programmes like Women in Food and with the backing from successful females chefs hopefully we’ll see a bigger improvement over the next few years.

Asked whether she considers herself a role model Giselle said: “Yes, I suppose I’m sort of retired, but yes why not? The more women in the industry the better support we can give each other.” 

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th September 2017

Women in Food Programme helping to combat the female chef shortage