Women who mean business 

Encouraging women to compete in roles across all sectors of industry is essential to build a stronger workforce and generally improve quality of life for communities.  As a responsible member of the private sector this is a calling we take quite seriously at Restaurant Associates.

Action to promote gender equality must be real life practice not just theory and nice words.  Our new ‘Women in Food’ programme means we’re making this a real focus and we are going to put our money where our mouth is.

We’ve seen the gender gap in this industry and made the commitment that as an organisation, we will have female chefs form 50% of our workforce by 2020. 

A bold promise I’m sure you’d agree, but one we’re confident we can achieve.  Across the organisation, we are already at 35% which is remarkably higher than the industry norm of 18.5%.  How will we do this? Our aim is to make it easier for female chefs to develop from entry level into more senior roles we’re going to do this through an active apprenticeship programme and investment into learning and development for our current and future female chefs.

On Tuesday 19th April, women in the food industry from apprentices through to exec and celebrity chefs gathered together at the prestigious News UK building in London Bridge to tackle this very topic and to mark the launch of this initiative.  The key speakers for this event were Prue Leith, Emily Roux and Sabrina Ghayor who participated in an open discussion and Q&A hosted by Jeremy Ford, RA’s Culinary Director.

Prue said “The training of more female chefs is vital if we are to reach gender equality in the catering industry.  It is great to see that this important issue is being addressed through the Women in Food programme”. 

We hope that by recognising and understanding issues that may discourage women from becoming chefs or continuing their career in the catering industry, through the Women in Food programme will be able to break down these barriers and see a change in the perception of the industry to Women considering a career as a chef.