Food Management Today caught up with celebrity chef and businesswoman Lesley Waters, who will co-host the Women In Meat Industry Awards 2018.
Lesley is well-known for regular television appearances on Ready Steady Cook, Great Food Live and This Morning.
We caught up with Lesley to find out more about why she accepted the opportunity to present the Awards and what her favourite meat dishes are.
Q: Why did you accept the opportunity to host the Women In Meat Industry Awards ceremony?
A: It’s a great pleasure to have been offered the opportunity to help celebrate the talented women in the industry and I suppose, as a woman who often faces the challenges of working in a male dominated area, I wanted to help recognise the female contributions to the industry. I know how tough it can be.
Q: There are still fewer women than men in senior management roles at UK meat businesses. Why do you think this is and how can women be encouraged to progress?
A: The association is often made that it is a man’s industry, but as far as making a change, evenings such as the Women In Meat Industry Awards will really help to close the gender gap and put female roles in meat at the forefront for a change. This will also help offer role models to motivate women interested in this field.
I believe role models are an important thing; I was having a look at some of the women that have been put forward this year for the awards, and they look amazing! If you look at the history of their work it’s very impressive.
Q: Could celebrity chefs, as well as meat businesses, be doing more to promote the health benefits of meat and the easy ways of cooking products?
A: There are a lot of cookery programmes on television, but people are still buying ready meals and not cooking, which might be down to finance or not knowing how to cook.
Maybe there is too much emphasis on the spectacle of cooking; something that looks impressive takes a lot of complicated steps to prepare and puts people off, but this isn’t something people are willing to prepare in their own kitchen.
I think that’s why Ready Steady Cook was so good, because it had a lot of people cooking, it was only 20 minutes and it had to be simple! People still come up to me now and say their partners or teenagers learnt to cook by watching ready steady cook which is amazing. I think we just need to promote simple but creative ways of cooking meat and get people to give it a go and people should be encouraged to make good food every day in a simple way.
Q: What is your favourite meat dish and why?
A: This is a really difficult question! I am going to have to give you a few. Slow cooked lamb with lemon and thyme which is a simple delicious shoulder of lamb but filled with so many amazing lemon and herby juices, all cooking on top of shallots and potatoes- it is just amazing. Another would be roast beef or chicken with all the trimmings; I love a traditional family roast and I love all the leftovers that I can do a ready steady cook with the next day! And I have to admit I totally love a crispy bacon butty- need I say more?
For the full, exclusive interview with Lesley Waters, make sure you read the September edition of Food Management Today’s sister magazine, Meat Management, out soon.
Vote for your winners!
The Women In Meat Industry Awards 2018 will see Lesley co-hosting a prestigious black tie dinner and presentation ceremony on 16th November at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London.
There are seven voting categories for the awards, for which the finalists have been announced following industry nominations, and there is still a chance to vote for your winner.
An eighth award, Meat Businesswoman of The Year Award, will be presented to one of the seven winners (excluding The Rising Star category) and will be selected by a panel of industry judges.
Cast your votes now, or before 31st July, at www.womeninmeatawards.com/vote.
Any queries about the awards or dinner can be directed to Emma Cash on 01908 613323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.