International Women’s Day 2024

March 8 is a time to celebrate the achievements of women across the world and the amazing work that is being done to achieve equality in social, cultural, economic and political spaces.

This International Women’s Day we can reflect and understand what more can be done to move closer to breaking down barriers which have stood in the way for many women over the years. The theme of this year is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, which focuses on understanding and learning the value of women’s inclusion to create a sense of belonging and empowerment.

The foodservice sector over the years has evolved dramatically with roles traditionally occupied by males being filled by females who have paved the way for other women in future generations to break into the industry. The stories below highlight two women who work in areas from behind the scenes to running a business front-of-house and show how they have contributed to how the foodservice industry looks today.

Those who work behind the scenes of any project are often not acknowledged front and centre, but their contributions are some of the most valuable. Featured in appetiser. Magazine, food stylist, Sarah DeNardi, has been an integral part of the Bidfood team for many years and her work in both food presentation and photography has enabled us to produce some of the stunning imagery in the foodservice sector. Running her business alongside being a mum are two demanding jobs, and her ability to keep up with current food trends and provide exceptional content is something to be admired. Ensuring her inclusion in our workplace, paralleled with her ability to keep up with the demands of food styling, has enabled us to produce high quality images and provide a role model and stepping stone for other women to follow suit and become involved in this industry. 

In 2023, we spoke to Michele Curtis, owner of St Kilda café Frankie’s Top Shop, and explored her journey from England’s West Country to finding success in Australia with all its rewards and challenges. Starting her culinary career cooking crab sandwiches, Michele worked her way up to cook in some of the best restaurants in the 90’s in Melbourne, alongside co-writing over 30 cookbooks, including the award-winning Campions & Curtis in the Kitchen, with her former partner. The challenges of running a demanding St Kilda kitchen, especially during the busy summer months, are something to be admired. Not only is Michele able to balance this workload, but she also keeps up with what food trends customers demand, whilst at the same time running a venture which has become an integral part of the neighbourhood. Michele and Frankie’s Top Shop have shown other women who are in the foodservice industry how they can run their businesses and inspire others with the tools to elevate their involvement in leadership and decision-making in the culinary sectors.

Reflecting on these two women who have paved the way in different areas of the foodservice industry allows us to look forward and understand how the 2024 International Women’s Day theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’ can be incorporated into our everyday lives. Ensuring women are present at every part of the many areas that make up foodservice, from suppliers to distributors to chefs in the kitchen and at all levels.