"You cannot be what you cannot see. These are the future food entrepreneurs of London. They came to see me and listen to what motivates me and why I believe London is a city full of opportunities "
Social enterprise charity Stitches in Time launched an exciting new Food Enterprise Project – Deshi Shad in September. Now their aim of creating the first women run curry house pop-up on Brick Lane is about to be realised. The food project aims to raise the profile of women in the food industry by raising awareness of opportunities, addressing challenges, and celebrating achievements. Women In the Food Industry were one of the organisations who helped them with their mission to demonstrate that Bengali women too can work in the food industry.
The Deshi Shad project was designed for and by Bangladeshi women from Tower Hamlets, who are incredible cooks with a wealth of knowledge about Bangladeshi cuisine. With so much of the nation’s focus on South Asian cuisine, plus with the London skills shortages surrounding Brexit, the project has been praised for wanting to explore the many business opportunities now available to those wanting to turn their passion into a career.
One person who was full of praise for the women was Asma Khan. Members from the group recently visited her at her female run kitchen Darjeeling Express – which was the subject of the award-winning Netflix The Chefs’ Table – to hear her supportive words & see her all female kitchen brigade. Asma said "You cannot be what you cannot see. These are the future food entrepreneurs of London. They came to see me and listen to what motivates me and why I believe London is a city full of opportunities - you just need to believe in yourself!"
In addition to Asma Khan a number of women in the food industry including Aida Khan, Angela Malik, Dina Begum, Rukia Begum, Lorna Nanda Gangotra, Urvashi Roe, Mecca Ibrahim and Rosana McPhee gave their support and time to provide inspiration and skills for the women including workshops on menu development, social media, food photography and health and safety. These valuable workshops helped to give the confidence to the women in Tower Hamlets who have already started to carry out private catering. On the evening of 5th December they will put on a pop up at Kahaila Cafe to celebrate the pilot's end and provide a symbolic milestone for Deshi Shad - and women everywhere.
Visit Women In the Food Industry to discover more about the project and how to reserve tickets for the pop up.