inploi meets Emma Underwood, The TMRW Project inploi Team | 12.04.2017
On 3rd April, The TMRW Project hosted their first 'Industry Talks' event of the year, at 17 Love Lane in Liverpool. We caught up with Emma Underwood, GM at Burnt Truffle and Front of House Representative for the TMRW Project to talk about the event and their other plans for 2017.
The TMRW Project is a not-for-profit project, aiming to inspire younger generations to get into and engage with the hospitality industry. Created by industry leaders Dan Doherty (Executive Chef at Duck & Waffle) and Anna Sulan Masing (Freelance Writer and Communications Manager), the The TMRW Project is made up of three smaller projects: ‘Chefs of Tomorrow’, ‘The Switch’ and ‘Industry Talks’.
Emma Underwood & Anna Sulan Masing
The TMRW Project’s most recent event was an evening focussing on Women in Hospitality, hosted on 3rd April in Liverpool, where a panel of female industry experts discussed the topic, ‘Do we need a Best Female Chef Award?’. The panel was comprised of two prominent female chefs, Mary-Ellen McTague (Aumbry), and Elizabeth Haigh (Kaizen), experienced Front of House bar and restaurant marketer, Gwen Prior (Graffiti Spirits Group), and Charlotte Rasburn (Restaurant Operations Manager for Man Behind the Curtain & Rabbit in the Moon); providing a diverse view for debate from both kitchen and front of house perspectives.
So why talk about Best Female Chef awards? Emma commented:
“There’s a real dearth of women working in professional kitchens, and it’s a huge shame. The question of ‘why’ is one that is extremely difficult to solve: is it related to a lack of attraction or a lack of retention? Awards such as ‘Best Female Chef’ help to glorify the career for women, but we have to ask whether this separatism is actually a detriment – why ‘Best Female Chef’ and why not just ‘Best Chef’? Why are so few women appearing on the ‘Best Chef’ shortlists that it is necessary to create a whole extra award? There was so much discussion around this recently following the announcement of Ana Roš as the World’s Best Female Chef, and we feel it is worth continuing.”
Women in Hospitality panel speakers
With recent success of Ruth Hansom winning Young National Chef of the Year last year, and Lorna McNee being awarded Scottish Chef of the Year last month, it’ll certainly be an interesting space to watch in the future!
The Women in Hospitality salon at 17 Love Lane in Liverpool was the first of The TMRW Project’s events outside London this year. However, the team have plenty of exciting plans nationwide for the forthcoming months, including ‘The Switch’, which Emma hopes will be even bigger and better than last year. With the majority of hospitality media attention often shone on chefs, Emma is a strong advocate for Front of House arguing, “Chefs are constantly branded as the rock and roll stars of the industry, and it is unfair that Front of House are put on such an unequal level. We need the world to know how amazing a career in Front of House can be. The real characters are the people out front: it takes huge amounts of confidence, charm, wit and intelligence to properly work on the floor and the media is missing out on it all.” ‘The Switch’ and The TMRW Project’s ‘Industry Talks’ panel sessions are therefore paving the way; highlighting the Front of House side of the industry, as well as opening discussion for other important issues in hospitality.
Their next ‘Chefs of Tomorrow’ will be held on 8th May at Hispi Bistro in Manchester
If you’re a Chef de Partie and would like to be involved, you can get in touch with any of the team by emailing: info@ChefsOfTomorrow.co.uk
You can read our original interview with the founders of The TMRW Project here: Chef's Pass - inploi meets the Founders of The TMRW Project
About the author: Victoria Bushnell is Head of Marketing/PR at inploi.