A group of female leaders in the Cornish hospitality industry have come together to encourage more young women to follow in their footsteps.

The diverse group, representing a cross-section of the catering and hospitality sector, included business owners, freelancers and team managers – all with specialist skills and unique career paths taking them to the top of their chosen field.

Emily Scott (chef patron, St Tudy Inn), Elly Owen (head sommelier, Fifteen Cornwall), Kate Attlee (chef and food blogger), Michelle Brown (HR, learning & development manager, The Headland Hotel) and Rachael Henley (food and beverage manager, The Idle Rocks) met at the St Tudy Inn near Bodmin as part of the Hospitality Table Cornwall project.

This new initiative, led by Truro and Penwith College and funded by the European Social Fund, is engaging with hospitality business to address industry-wide issues, including training and recruitment.

Project Coordinator, Jayne Cornish, said: “Bringing more talented women into hospitality is one objective of this project. With role models like this – experts in their fields, natural leaders, creative individuals – there is a lot for young women to aspire to.”

She continued: “We have bought these individuals together to highlight the diversity of career paths available, including becoming a chef, sommelier, mixologist or barista, manager or indeed a small business owner. Throughout the project the group will grow, allowing us to gather more case studies from women in the industry.”

Emily Scott was included in ‘The 100 Most Influential Women In Hospitality’ – a list compiled by industry publication CODE earlier this year.

She commented: “The industry has changed a lot – for the better – since I trained. The presence of more women in leading roles has played a massive part in that. It’s fantastic to come together with this inspiring group of individuals and discuss how we can spread a positive message.”

Hospitality Table Cornwall will harness the experience and leadership of people like Emily, delivering an employer-led approach to raising the profile and skills level of the sector.

Regular forums bringing together representatives from leading hospitality businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are planned and will address a wide variety of issues – including how to recruit and retain talented females in the industry.