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Waitrose names Britain’s 10 Most Influential Women in Food 2023

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Stef Bottinelli
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Waitrose has unveiled the list of Britain’s 10 Most Influential Women in Food 2023 ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Waitrose brought together an all-female panel of expert judges working in the industry, including Thomasina Miers, founder of Mexican street food restaurant chain Wahaca, food and culture commentator Mallika Basu, cheesemaker Stacey Hedges, and Jessica Gunn, Editor of Waitrose Food.

Britain’s 10 Most Influential Women in Food 2023 are:

  • Andi Oliver – cook, restaurateur, writer, broadcaster and TV presenter known for her appearance on the BBC’s The Great British Menu.
  • Minette Batters – first female President of the National Farmers’ Union of England & Wales (NFU)
  • Asma Khan – former lawyer, author and owner of London restaurant Darjeeling Express. The kitchen is run by an all-female team. Asma is also founder of non-profit Second Daughters Fund, which celebrates and educates second-born daughters in her Indian birthplace
  • Nicole Pisani and Naomi Duncan – co-founders, Executive Chef and CEO of non-profit Chefs in Schools, transforming school food and education and reaching 20k children a day
  • Helen Browning OBE – organic farmer and CEO of the Soil Association
  • Mary Quicke MBE – cheesemaker and founder of the Academy of Cheese, making fine British cheese something to celebrate
  • Claudia Roden CBE – cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist who, over decades, has transformed Western attitudes to Middle Eastern cuisine
  • Olia Hercules – Ukrainian-born chef, food stylist and writer, founder of #CookForUkraine, which has raised £800k to support people suffering as a result of the war
  • Ravneet Gill – pastry chef, author and activist founder of Countertalk, which connects chefs and hospitality professionals, educates and encourages healthier workplaces
  • Jaega Wise – Head Brewer, co-founder of London-based Wild Card Brewery, broadcaster and a campaigner against gender stereotypes and discrimination in brewing

Andi Oliver commented upon receiving the accolade: “It is such a joyful and unexpected honour to be listed alongside women  I’ve long admired and who are changing the way we grow, cook, think and feel about food and its role in society. I am glowing.

Jessica Gunn, Editor of Waitrose Food, said: “These women have truly changed the paradigm when it comes to food. What unites them is their ability to think differently and forge a new path. We have seen them harness their creativity, passion and expertise to create networks that ultimately nourish society. From helping refugees to raising funds and educating, they have used food as a means of uniting people for the greater good. We created this list as it’s essential that we take the time to celebrate these women so that they in turn can inspire the next generation to continue challenging the status quo.” 

Women are the main buyers and cooks of home food, but they are still underrepresented in the industry. In the UK in 2021 only around 30% of women held board level positions in the food industry, just 17% were chefs, and only 8% of females were Michelin-starred chefs.

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