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International Women's Day with Izzy Cohen

International Women's Day with Izzy Cohen

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As part of International Women's Day, we're shining a spotlight on one of our chefs Izzy Cohen whose culinary journey began at the age of 14. 

Can you share a little bit about your journey to become a chef and how you got started?

I always dreamed of being a chef; my first kitchen experience was when I was 14 years old and I did work experience - I actually did my placement with one of our current customers (full circle moment!) Cocoa Loco. I had various summer jobs within kitchens, and then landed my apprenticeship at the Hilton Metropole when I was 16 years old. From there I worked my way up from being an Apprentice Chef to taking on the role of Chef De Partie, which entailed running my own area in the kitchen for the Conference & Banqueting events. At Henley Bridge Ingredients, I now get involved in creating dishes and recipes for the photoshoots we have to showcase our products alongside my role so I still get to let my creative side flow! 

How do you think the industry has changed in terms of gender inclusion since you started out as a chef?

When I first started, I was 1 of 2 female chefs in the kitchen that had just under 30 chefs altogether, so I was surrounded by over 25 male chefs. Now I would like to think you wouldn’t see such a huge difference between the split of gender within professional kitchens! I felt as though I had to prove myself because I was in such a male-dominated environment but speaking to female friends in the industry now it sounds a lot more gender diverse and inclusive within the kitchen. 

What advice would you give to younger women looking to start their chef career? 

Go for it! Any opportunity, big or small, could take you to something even better for your career! Give it your all and don’t let anyone tell you that you won’t make it in the kitchen – it’s the best thing I ever did! 

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