Marking the month of female empowerment, Anatolian restaurant Rüya hosted a networking event for women in the food industry in partnership with Womanist on Saturday, March 23.
The discussions throughout the afternoon focussed on the opportunities and challenges that women face in the F&B and hospitality industries.
Originally from Ethiopia, Boon Coffee founder Orit Mohammed shared her experiences saying: “In Dubai, I feel like I’m standing on my own. As a roaster, as soon as I walk into a meeting, people think that I’m a supplier selling green beans. So I always have to say ‘No I’m actually the roaster’.”
She went on to explain that as an entrepreneur, she constantly faces discrimination on two fronts: “I feel that I have to prove myself twice as much because first, I’m a woman and second, I’m black. I’m always second-guessed. I’m not a cool girl, I don’t have tattoos, I’m not a white guy with a beard. Because I represent so many others, I feel like I have to do twice as much. If I was in Ethiopia, I wouldn’t have to do this, I could just be myself.”
Along with Mohammed, the panel comprised respected industry figures Samantha Wood, Dalia Dogmoch Soubra, Dima Hamati, Tiffany Eslick, Lidija Abu Ghazaleh, and Hind Al Mulla. The event was hosted by Elizabeth Stevenson who is Rüya’s pastry chef and a member of the Womanist organisation.
The Women in F&B and Hospitality networking events are set to take place every quarter.