I meet a lot of incredibly talented people through Blend Kitchen but it never ceases to amaze me how little self confidence many of the people we work with have. One women (Rose) we’re currently working with recently wrote on our Instagram page “love being able to train in this wonderful space, it’s amazing”. My initial response was one of happiness but upon thinking about her statement more I felt an increasing sense of frustration that no one had been able to provide this highly motivated, talented 40 year old woman with an opportunity previously. Rose’s primary aim is to find a paid job so she can give her kids a great upbringing and not have to rely on benefits for her income.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day whose hashtag this year is #choosetochallenge. I read a stat this week that said only 1 in 20 CEO’s are female while 75% of NHS staff are women. In the restaurant world, with the notable exceptions of UK Hospitality CEO and Blend Kitchen Ambassador Kate Nicholls and chefs such as Claire Smith, Angela Hartnett and Helen Darroze there are very few female role models in the hospitality industry.
This lack of representation within the restaurant world matters hugely to me as I believe it will put off people like Rose and Emma (pictured left prepping the chicken for the kati roll) off a career path they are passionate about and have so much to bring. I threw Emma at the deep end this week cooking the very popular tandoori chicken kati rolls for our customers on Friday. With 25 on order between 12 and 1, she was going to be busy! Emma rose to the challenge cooking each portion of chicken perfectly to order. Emma is passionate about a career in hospitality and for me has the attitude to go along way. She’s an employers dream, always on time, well organised and with bags of enthusiasm and passion. What we need to make happen is to give Emma the confidence and belief in herself that she can achieve her goals.
My next goal for Emma, Rose and the other women Blend Kitchen support is to find them some female mentors to install that confidence and raise their aspirations. For me, without raising aspirations of the women who engage with us, we’ll perpetuate a situation where women continue to face barriers to fulfilling their potential. If you are or know someone who would be interested in becoming a mentor to one of our trainees, give me or Justin a shout.
If you fancy meeting Emma and sampling one of her tandoori chicken kati rolls, drop us an email to [email protected] by 5pm Wednesday to order your Blend Kitchen Friday lunchtime take away.
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