If you hadn't heard, Gourmand & Women in Hospitality United's hosted Hindsight 20/21, a virtual event for food leaders and lovers to bond and share successes, failures and everything else along the way.
FRIDAY: KICKING OFF THE EVENT WITH WOMEN IN HOSPITALITY UNITED
On Friday, this amazing event started out with a conversation between Elizabeth Meltz, Kutina Ruhumbika, and Liz Murray of Women of Hospitality United. In 2017, Elizabeth was working for Mario Batali where sexual allegations came to light and she felt a call for change, both personally and professionally. From this, Elizabeth developed the concept of Women in Hospitality United, where women could come together and lift each other up in the industry of hospitality, where women have historically been looked down upon.
Kutina shared the importance of working together, especially in light of recent events with connecting online to stay in touch.
FRIDAY: FROM THE COFOUNDERS OF GOURMAND
Maggie and Alaina are both juniors at UPENN that met through the school's food magazine. Although they have different interests within the hospitality industry, they came together to form the Gourmand, a community for the next generation of food lovers and leaders. Started as a podcast, it has become so much more; there has been an amazing connection between women food lovers and now here we are, a year later, having this incredibly impactful conversation and event.
Click here to join Gourmand's Geneva to stay connected to young people who love food!
FRIDAY: MAVIS JAY
Liz Murray then introduced Mavis-Jay, a chef who believes in sustainably raised ingredients that are carefully prepared. She is a fierce social equity advocate who fights for food justice in low income and BIPOC communities.
Mavis-Jay started her conversion by reassuring us that this was a safe place and we could leave any comments or questions in the chat. She first prompted us to tell her our favorite snack; mine is rice cakes with cashew butter!
Mavis-Jay started out with some tips on a successful workplace romance… and it's not the kind of workplace romance you're thinking of. She emphasized the importance of loving yourself and what you do––which will make everything you do that much more powerful.
FRIDAY: COOKING CLASS WITH MAB ABBASGOLIZADEH
After a refreshing conversation about empowering women and fighting negative patterns, Friday evening ended with an amazing cooking class hosted by our Persian instructor, Mab.
Mab is an amazing home cook, a part of League of Kitchens, where there is the opportunity to participate in cultural cooking classes hosted by immigrant women focused on connecting, cooking and sharing cultures.
Mab started off by telling us a little bit about her story. Mab is a filmmaker, an activist and she is from South of Iran. She currently lives in Brooklyn and she started working with League of Kitchens after finding herself very burnt out from long years of hard work. Her family was very traditional; her father owned a restaurant and grocery store and her mother raised 6 children. Mab explained that she often got bored with the food her family ate every day and wished to explore more in the kitchen. She cooked with her mother as a teenager, but things quickly changed when her country started to become more politically tense. Mab became involved in the Iranian Revolution and was persecuted by the Iranian Republic as an advocate for women's rights, to the point of multiple instances of imprisonment. She eventually moved to New York City, where she remains a vocal activist today.
FRIDAY: MENUS AND RECIPE
If you're interested in recreating what we made, here are the details! This recipe is courtesy of Mab Abbas and the League of Kitchens
Mast O Khiar (Yogurt with Cucumber, Mint and Rose Petals)
- Goat's milk yogurt combined with diced cucumbers and dried mint, topped with crushed rose petals and nuts.
1 very large cucumber (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 bunch scallions
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1 large fresh mint sprig
1 cup whole milk yogurt (goat's milk yogurt if possible)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup whole walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
3/4 teaspoon dried mint
2 teaspoons dried rose petals (optional)
lavash or pita, for serving
Box grater or hand grater
Peel the cucumber and then grate on the large holes of a box grater into a serving bowl. Mix in
the yogurt, mint, pepper, and salt. Crush the rose petals in your hands over the yogurt in a
decorative pattern (if using). Scatter the ground nuts in a decorative pattern. Let sit – it will be
Cook's Notes: Mab prefers freshly ground salt from a grinder for dishes that don't require
cooking because it's less processed.
-The flavor and consistency of goat's milk yogurt is similar to the yogurt Mab uses in Iran.
-Use equal parts almonds and walnuts and finely grind in a food processor.
-Make sure to use dried rose petals that are meant for food, rather than potpourri.
Makes: 3 cups
Prep: 10 minutes
Sabzi Khordan (Fresh Herb Salad)
- A platter of fresh herbs, scallions, radishes, whole walnuts, and feta topped with olive oil and dried mint.
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, hard stems trimmed
1 large fresh mint sprig4 radishes, trimmed and sliced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (see Cook's Note)
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil1/4 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 cup whole walnuts
lavash or pita, for serving
Arrange the scallions and cilantro on a serving platter. Tear the mint leaves over top. Gently
toss together. Scatter the radishes across the herbs.
Stir the feta, oil, and mint in a small bowl. Scoop onto one side of the salad. Arrange the
walnuts next to the feta.
Cook's Note: When choosing feta, Mab always buys Greek feta made from sheep and goat's
milk because it tastes the most like the feta from Iran.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Elizabeth Meltz reiterated that the 2017 sexual assault allegations against Mario Batali was so awful to go through and that it is truly what begun her path towards creating good. From Women in Hospitality United, these powerful women have now gone full circle and are now here with Women in Hospitality United, truly creating good and offering a safe space for women in the hospitality industry.
We started the morning with Liz Murray encouraging us to close our eyes for just a few moments and let go of everything holding us down and release those feelings and prepare for the day. What a great way to start a great day!
SATURDAY: KEYNOTE SPEAKER- THE UGLY DUCKLING WHO BECAME A STAR
Saturday's keynote speaker was Asma Khan. Maggie Tang introduced Asma Khan, who is an Indian-born British chef, restaurant owner and cookbook author. Asma was profiled on the sixth season of the Netflix documentary series Chef's Table and has received numerous awards for her work. Here is the link to her cookbooks if you are interested.
Asma started her keynote by emphasizing that with COVID, the world stopped, but it gave us the opportunity to stop and reflect on where we are and what we are doing.
She expressed feeling unwanted and uncelebrated in the industry of hospitality. That working in hospitality has historically and societally meant that you don't fit in and are seen as lesser than. She has felt these fillings since childhood, particularly the stresses of being 'dark-skinned and everyone focusing on who would marry you'.
Asma feels that social justice has not been about justice for herself, but for everyone.
Asma explained her self-appreciation for growing from the ugly duckling to a star and how those feelings of being the dark-skinned person on the sidelines have always stuck with her. She never expected to become who she is today, but here we are.
Despite the things that hold us back, like being a woman, a Muslim, an Asian woman, etc., we believe in social justice and we strive for more. We fight for more.
"I have to be who I am today so that I can live; I can breathe; I can feel."
SATURDAY: PANEL 1 - MODELS OF LEADERSHIP
The first panel consisted of Dana Cowin, Adrian Lipscombe, Elle Simone Scott and Ellen Yin.
First and foremost, the moderator V Spehar explained the different kinds of mentors we can have and emphasized that we are not alone and it is okay to reach out and ask for help or advice.
The first kind of mentor is a coach. A coach is someone who is going to talk AT you about a specific thing you want to do.
A mentor comes next; who is someone that will talk WITH you about what's going on in your brain and what you're feeling. These are lifelong partners and have your back along your journey.
Role Models are someone you admire and want to learn from.
Sometimes a person can fall into multiple categories and sometimes they fall into just one. What's important to keep in mind is that it's okay to rely on others for help sometimes. I know we all have trouble with that!
This panel was a great conversation about maneuvering the workplace as a young and developing woman, with various backgrounds. The key takeaway from this panel is that we are not alone and we can empower each other.
SATURDAY: LUNCH BREAK
During lunch, we had the opportunity to leave the event and enter a Zoom breakout room to connect and take part in a Q&A mentorship session.
SATURDAY: CENTERING EQUITY IN INNOVATION
This panel was hosted by Suzanne Barr, Jenny Dorsey, Amy Wu and Johanne Zeilstra.
This panel was an amazing conversation about how to balance equity in the workplace as we innovate with so much changing technology. We started with a check in from Erica, the moderator, because we are all human. We all have things going on in our lives and we aren't always feeling on top of everything- which is perfectly okay!
We discussed how important it is to adapt with the changes that technology brings us, especially now in the world that we live in.
SATURDAY: VISION MAPPING
Vision Mapping with Pia Tempestini was an amazing final session of an amazing event. Pia emphasized the importance, to her, about our narratives and how our opinions and feelings shape our lives. Pia has developed this idea of thinking and concept of vision mapping from her mother- who created this concept.
Pia explained that achieving our goals is not always a linear process, so it's important to accept the ebbs and flows that come with navigating the workplace and your journey, especially in the hospitality industry.
We all had the opportunity to work through our vision map for our future, which was really reassuring and empowering.
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