This is a guest blog. Topic? “Food business – not just a boys’ game” by Serena @intothefworld
A few weeks ago, debate flamed in the UK Twittersphere over the fact that the Guardian – in other respects, a stronghold for equal opportunities- and the other f-word, Feminism- did not feature ANY woman in its “How to launch a food startup” Masterclass.
As you know, “a few weeks ago” on Twitter amounts to a couple millennia so not worth stirring up that done and dusted controversy- however, the episode got me thinking. Is making food a business still a man’s game?
As a food blogger (a rather pompous name for the fact that I inflict upon a few thousand others my opinions on places I go for dinner- not to mention Instagram pictures of puddings) I happen to know quite a few awesome women in London who have made food their career, and a very successful one indeed. I would pay (literally) to have them teaching me about how they made it – if it can ever be taught – so dear Guardian, here’s a few suggestions on who we’d like to see on the professor seat next time around.
Dana Elemara is a young entrepreneur who is not just bringing argan oil (a rare oil with many beneficial cosmetic and health properties which also- very important- tastes delicious) to the UK. She’s doing it in an ethical way, by working with cooperatives employing local women, and sustainably. Although clients include first-class names such as Ottolenghi, Dana is still humble enough to (wo)man her street market stand every Saturday. What’s not to love?
Or think of Kerstin Rodgers, alias Ms.Marmite Lover– a chef and author who’s credited with almost single-handedly starting the booming supperclub phenomenon in London. As the unique-tasting spread she named herself after, Ms.Marmite Lover tends to polarize opinions- but then, that strangely tends to happen when someone (and especially a woman) is bold and speaks her mind out instead of being all smiles and sugar.
And finally, let’s not forget the many awesome female chefs running some of the most successful London restaurants and po-ups – from Angela Hartnett and her Murano, to up-and-coming Persian private chef Sabrina Ghayour who has collaborations with The Modern Pantry and Jamie Oliver under her belt, to Masterchef winner and entrepreneur Thomasina Miers, the driving force behind Wahaca.
So when it comes to mixing craftsmanship, creativity, discipline and business acumen, women do have the perfect recipe – food for thought for those who think food is still a boy’s game!
Do you know other awesome women in food? Let’s chat @intothefworld