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08/03/2021

International Women's Day

Team Rogan is full of extraordinary women, so we felt that we should take the opportunity to highlight a few members of the team for International Women's Day.

Meet Alessandra, Kayleigh and Kirri, three inspirational women who will be telling you a bit about stereotypes and challenges that women face in the hospitality industry, as well as advice for women wanting to get into the sector.


Kirri Palmer - Henrock Restaurant Manager

Do you think there's a stereotype attached to females working in the sector?

I feel there isn't so much a stereotype as a stigma attached to women in the industry. There is no denying that to succeed in hospitality, major sacrifices must be made regardless of gender. You have to be willing to disregard the historical expectations of us as women.

How do we attract more women to work in senior roles in the hospitality sector?

We show that it can be done. Women need to have more evidence of it being done than not. I don't mean that there should be MORE women than men in more senior roles, just that the idea of your gender holding you back needs to be scrubbed out. We need to replace the negative image of women "struggling to succeed" with examples of our success.

What are the current challenges for women working in the sector?

I don't feel like women face more challenges at work in hospitality than in any other sector. For this reason, I would say the challenges that exist stem from our society.

What advice would you give to women looking to start working in the sector?

Believe in yourself. As clichéd as it sounds, it's so important. Don't be told you can't achieve your goals because there is always a way you can. Study hard, get creative, listen to mentors and take their advice, but ultimately you guide your own path and make your own choices.


Kayleigh Thorogood – Rogan & Co Restaurant Manager

Who has inspired you in your career so far, and why?

I've had some incredible mentors and managers throughout my career, the truly great few have not only inspired me with their own knowledge, skill and talent, but they have given me opportunities that have allowed me to grow. I think what inspires me the most daily is the team that I'm surrounded by.

Do you think there's a stereotype attached to females working in the sector?

I think that there is a stereotype attached to women in hospitality, but I also think that many of us create stereotypes without realising that we've done so. We often attach these to specific roles not just in our sector but also in roles in other sectors, particularly in managerial positions. Unfortunately, unintentional stereotyping is so common, and I've experienced this on more than one occasion. Luckily, this is changing. I am fortunate enough to know women throughout our industry in a variety of roles, including head chefs, head sommeliers and restaurant managers, all of whom are succeeding and all are making positive impacts.

How do we attract more women to work in senior roles in the hospitality sector?

Companies are beginning to make real progress throughout the industry and make senior roles in hospitality appealing and achievable. With many restaurants now looking at 4-day weeks and a better work-life balance, I hope this will attract not only women but a range of different people to our industry. Maybe the way we could attract more women is by nurturing the ones that already work in the sector and obviously by all of us consciously ensuring that we give women and men equal opportunities to progress based on ability and not on gender.

What advice would you give to women looking to start working in the sector?

Do it for the love of it! Learn from every experience, never doubt your own strength. You can achieve anything you put your mind to with the right mentors, company and team; doors won't ever be door closed to you as long as you work with determination and passion.


Alessandra Russo - Development Chef Simon Rogan At Home

Who has inspired you in your career so far, and why?

Various people have inspired me throughout my career, mainly the people I have worked alongside, the Sous Chefs, Head Chefs, Managers, all of whom have been able to see what makes me tick and have encouraged me to progress. I can't forget the countless colleagues I work with or have worked with or worked with that have shared their incredible knowledge and skills along the way. I can't forget the person that keeps inspiring me with his determination, knowledge, kindness and patience, and that's my husband, Paul Burgalieres, Head Chef of L'Enclume. He never stops moving, learning, wanting more, and he is always confident and calm.

Do you think there's a stereotype attached to females working in the sector?

Yes, I do. Female chefs that succeed through determination, hard work and discipline in the kitchen are often referred to as being mean and heartless. I understand a little of where that attitude comes from. Working in this industry requires sacrifice, not having free weekends, bank holidays or evenings, and working in a predominantly male environment. So, women that keep working in this industry despite that are tough and determined, just as much as men, if not more so. Working as a chef, restaurant manager, or food and beverage manager makes a traditional family life almost impossible unless the partner takes care of the kids, that is, so the women chefs that succeed are mostly the ones who don't want kids or choose not to have them. Luckily, there are more and more examples of women that manage to have a career and family life, proving this stereotype completely wrong!

How do we attract more women to work in senior roles in the hospitality sector?

By offering enhanced maternity leave, more flexibility with working hours to take account of family emergencies, flexible night shifts, and above all else, offering the same wage as a man in the same role.

What advice would you give to women looking to start working in the sector?

I would give the same advice to young men entering the sector, to be strong, determined, to know what you want and what you want to achieve. If you set a goal, you will reach it with these attributes, no matter how tough it may get. Be patient, polite, respectful and above all, listen to your superiors and learn as much as you can from them, absorb as much information as possible and learn from their mistakes too so that you won't make the same mistakes in the future. Be who you are, be confident about who you are, be comfortable in your skin and recognised your limitations and your ability. We are all different and unique; that is our strength, not our skin colour, sexual preference or our gender.