International Women's Day

How did Emily Watkins reach the top?

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Women

Nationally-acclaimed chef Emily Watkins tells her story, gives advice to others who want to reach the top and reveals her plans for the future in this piece for International Women's Day, supported by Knorr.

Name: Emily Watkins


Job title: ​Former head chef at the Kingham Plough, Oxfordshire

How you got there:
I have been cheffing for 20 years now. I started my professional career in Italy in a restaurant called Beccofino and have been doing it ever since.

Where do you see yourself next?:
We have just sold our pub and moved down to Dorset where we have a farm. The next plan is to start growing my own food to cook.

Running a busy kitchen becomes quite a managerial role after a while so I’m looking forward to going back to cooking and recipe development.

Biggest issue for women in the trade right now:
There is equal opportunity for women to progress in kitchens but the difficulty comes later on in a woman’s life when she wants to have children and steps out of the kitchen for a period and has to juggle children and work after that.

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That is a big challenge. But it has improved so much that I would say we all get along pretty well and respect each other in the kitchen.

What, if any, experiences of sexism have you encountered?:
None really.

I have come across a few guys who work for me who have had a problem being told what to do by a woman but they get over it in the end and have to move on.

Your advice to others who want to achieve what you have:
Go for it. Don’t let it hold you back or be frightened about it.

If you love cooking just cook from the heart and people will respect you for what you do.

See all of our International Women's Day chef focus videos

Related topics: Chefs

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