Scottish Women in the Food Industry event

26th February 2018

Scottish Women in the Food Industry is to provide a platform  for women working in Scotland’s food, drink and hospitality industry ahead International Women’s Day 2019 (8th March).  The first event, a panel discussion and networking afternoon will take place at The New Town Cookery School, Edinburgh on Monday 4th March from 4pm – 6pm.


Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019, the inaugural event aims to bring together a diverse mix of female food and drink leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss the issues impacting  women working in food-related careers in Scotland.


Chaired by Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, the panel will include Fiona Burrell, Principal, The New Town Cookery School; Sumayya Usmani, Cookbook Author, Food Educator and Broadcaster; Jack Mitchell, Director, TRUEfoods Ltd; Julie Swee Lin, 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.


Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink, said: “This debate is a welcome opportunity to honour and celebrate the role of women across food, drink and tourism, not just on International Women’s Day, but all year round.  From producers and farmers to chefs, restaurateurs, educators and more, Scotland is bursting with talented women, all dedicated to driving the ongoing success of our industries, which are so vital to the country’s culture, economy and reputation”


The panel discussion will be followed by networking and refreshments, offering guests and speakers the opportunity to mingle, make connections and discuss the topics raised during the panel discussion.


Commenting on the event, 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 Swee Lin, Chef Patron, Julie’s Kopitiam added:  “I’m honoured to be a panellist this year for Scottish Women in The Food Industry. Cooking is something that has been extremely close to my heart from a young age. Not only is it a passion but it’s a medium in which I’m able to connect with my Malaysian heritage and learn more about my mother’s background. It’s this passion which 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.”


Fiona Burrell, Principal of Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, commented:  “We are very excited to host the Women In The Food Industry Scotland event as ENTCS not only employs plenty of women and but has also trained many female chefs who have gone on to be very successful in the industry.


“Having trained people for over 30 years, I strongly believe that training for people in the food industry should focus on more than cooking techniques. It should also include knowledge of ingredients, love of food, business planning, budgeting and team work, to ensure that industry management standards remain high.”


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.  The event is free to attend with an optional donation to Smartworks Edinburgh, which provides styling advice, high-quality interview clothes and interview training to women looking for work.