When I was asked to lead Sheffy, BM’s female chef network I was very excited, but also quite nervous. I wasn’t sure how best to empower and support female chefs who are working in a challenging industry.
I started by holding one-to-ones with female chefs in our #bmFamily💜💚. I wanted to find out what their day-to-day working experience was. I realised that we are all similar and strive to do the best we can. I got to know our incredible chefs and understand their struggles, which we don’t always see. As a result we created a network – Sheffy, to support one another. We were loud and proud about the great food we create. And we started to mentor each other including ways to have difficult conversations in the kitchen.
Sheffy has built incredible connections within our business already. We have created a network of professionals who work hard and want to achieve the same things as male chefs. Regardless of gender we are all capable of running a kitchen. Sheffy will ensure that everyone has a fair and equal opportunity.
Sometimes, our female chefs need a little extra encouragement. They need to feel empowered and know that we believe in them. They can take on more prominent roles in the kitchen, which is still male dominated. BM has never discriminated and always hires the right person for the role. But, the pool of candidates has always been weighted towards males. We are working hard to change this.
The Sheffy programme, which started in 2019 was going great guns, then COVID hit. We lost some incredible women due to unfortunate redundancies, change of career or relocation. But, we are rebuilding our Sheffy network. And some of our original Sheffys have been promoted to amazing senior positions. We are now training the next generation of female chefs and creating a fresh approach to working in our kitchens. The Sheffys are not only chefs who love to cook, they are future leaders. They have a huge potential to change the culture in our kitchens and the wider industry. I am excited for the next chapter as our industry reawakens.