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International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, and whilst the cheffing profession is still strongly dominated by men (fewer than 25% of chefs working in the UK today are women), Talkington Bates is proud to put a spotlight on three of their female employees, who not only are paving the way for equality but are also inspiring many of us. #BalanceforBetter

A few Talkington Bates facts – Higher than the national average

Length of Service • Of the top 5 longest serving employees all of them are women • Of all employees over 5 years’ service, 42.8% are women

Roles • 10/23 site managers and head chefs are women 43.5% • Head Office – 7 females, 5 males 58.3%

Highlight on Mel Kilburn, Operations Manager for Talkingtonbates. After an impressive career path starting as a Commis Chef, then Sous Chef, Head chef Manager for various companies, Mel joined Talkington Bates end of 2008 as a relief chef manager. Her determination, knowledge and hard work, led her to various positions through the business.

Now an Operations Manager, her role is to oversee the varied catering service that they offer at each of their individual units as well as building relationships with all the clients. She assists the managers with potential queries, goes through financial targets, writes budgets, supervises the day to day health and safety procedure within units, oversees training and helps the growth of the business within each contract, insuring they reach their full potential. Also part of Mel’s weekly tasks are costing and managing events, holding team meetings and looking after the support hub.

Today being international women’s day, what would you like to say to girls and women wanting to be chefs or work in the catering/hospitality industry? If you have a talent and passion for good food then head into the catering industry. It’s hard work but very rewarding.

Who inspires you? Anna Hansen, a Canadian-born chef, who was raised in New Zealand and now runs The Modern Pantry in London, United Kingdom.

What’s your favourite dish? Seafood risotto with scallops, of course!

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Karen Haughey, Catering Manager

Karen started with Talkington Bates in August 2016 as a relief chef manager and quickly became Operations assistant to Mel Kilburn, which meant helping with both Food Safety and Health and Safety. She went around the sites doing food safety audits as well as chef manager covers. “ I found this very enjoyable”.

Due to internal growth opportunities, Karen was approached to become the catering manager of one of Talkington Bates biggest sites. She has now been there for a year.

How can a women succeed in this industry? I have been working in the catering industry for over 30 years and I really do believe that women wanting to become chefs MUST believe in their own ability.

Unfortunately, in the past a lot of female chefs haven’t been given the same opportunity as men, though they were as good. They didn’t get the confidence to put themselves forward. We are as good as male chefs and that is more evident now with more female celebrity chefs!

Being a female manager in a world dominated by men, is it sometimes difficult to be heard ? It’s about letting your work do the talking, but as a woman I think we do have to work harder to prove ourselves!

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Zoe Creighton, Catering Assistant

With a 12 year-service at Talkington Bates as a catering assistant, Zoe is the proof that hard-worker get rewarded. She is currently being re-trained as a chef.

How does it make you feel It’s always nice to be recognised by the company you work for, because it shows how much they appreciate you and what you do for them.

What would you say about the catering industry? It is hard work a lot of the time but it’s also enjoyable.

Any female chef you look up to? As a child I use to watch Delia Smith a lot so I would have to say her.

Go on ladies, you can do it! #BalanceforBetter


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