International Women’s Day – Proudest career moment

By Sauce Communications 

Sunday 8th March brings with it celebrations for International Women’s Day. As most discussions around ‘women in the restaurant industry’ tend to sway to the negative site, focusing on under representation and other difficulties, we thought it would be far better to use this as an excuse to talk about the positives instead! As such we have asked our lovely clients what their proudest moments have been in their career so far.

Included in the stellar roundup are:

  • Kae Shibata – Co-Founder, Oxeye 
  • Nuvola Tivoli – Pastry Chef, Norma 
  • Helen Molnar – C0-Founder, The Cod’s Scallops 
  • Jeany Cronk – C0-Founder, Mirabeau 
  • Marie Marchand – Co-Owner, Frenchie 
  • Irha Atherton – Co-Founder, The Social Company 
  • Giovanna Satta – Sommelier, Muse 
  • Francesca Rainone – Operations Manager, Cornerstone 
  • Kelly Cullen – Pastry Chef, Cornerstone 
  • Sarah Frankland – Heady Pastry Chef, Pennyhill Park 

Kae Shibata – Co-Founder, Oxeye 

“One of the proudest moments in my career so far came last year when I was lucky enough to cook a small intimate dinner for The Queen alongside John Williams at Buckingham Palace – A very unique experience! But the thing that makes me most proud is when I hear from current or ex-colleagues that they are still working with the principles that I have taught them. Teamwork, humility and kindness are really what we need to be successful in the kitchen.”

Nuvola Tivoli – Pastry Chef, Norma 

“My proudest career moment has been when I opened ‘Nuvola a little bakery’ in Tooting market. I managed to do everything on my own, from building the actual shop up to the creation of the menu. I was the baker, the pastry chef and the salesperson. I did my own marketing, built a good Instagram profile and employed a pastry chef. Unfortunately, as life changes, the market took a different turn which I didn’t like. Rent went up, management changed and I just felt like I needed change. As a result, I decided to close it after 3 years. However, because my bakery has been very successful and loved by the community, I am still asked bake bespoke cakes, cater events and cook for private dinners.

I never felt that the closing of the shop was a failure; instead a great lesson and a huge step forward in my career. It made me more confident, strong, ready for anything and mostly, proud to be a woman in business. It definitely helped me get my new job as pastry chef at Norma and engage in various projects. Who knows, maybe in the future I will open something else. My dream is to host a food and travel show on TV!”

Helen Molnar – C0-Founder, The Cod’s Scallop

“I’ve enjoyed many proud moments throughout my career but winning the Best Fish & Chip Shop at the National Fish & Chip Awards in January has to be the proudest. It was a huge team effort and to take home that accolade was an incredible honour.”

Jeany Cronk – Co-Founder, Mirabeau

“My proudest moment was most recently when we achieved one of our long time dreams of buying a wine estate. Over the past couple of years we have been through significant change at Mirabeau and whilst all positive, challenging at times. It has pushed us to grow and learn along the way having completed an investment round, grown the team and business into new markets and dedicating our time to learning back from nature on how best to do things. Last September, Stephen and I brought the Mirabeau team together to share our vision for the future. We have an incredibly dedicated team with everyone always striving to be the best and who have helped us achieve where we have got to. It’s so hugely precious because you can overcome obstacles, be much more creative, be more effective and have a lot of fun along the way. A true case of the team’s whole far outstripping the sum of its parts and I am incredibly proud of my part in instilling this culture set at Mirabeau.”

Marie Marchand – Co-Owner, Frenchie 

“My proudest career moment to date happened in 2019 on the 10th birthday of Frenchie Rue du Nil. It gave me a chance to reflect on all that has been accomplished since I co-founded this Michelin-starred restaurant with my husband Greg. We have created a family on the Rue du Nil with Frenchie To Go, Frenchie Bar a Vins and the Frenchie Caviste, along with accomplishing a long-standing aspiration of mine, opening a restaurant in London. Developing Frenchie has been a challenging experience; however, we now have a brand that is recognised internationally and enjoyed by locals at each site, this is an accomplishment I will be eternally proud of.”

Irha Atherton – Co-Founder, The Social Company 

“Running The Social Company with Jason has created so many wonderful moments I’m extremely proud of. I’m proud to have built an international company which continues to grow; from opening Pollen Street Social together in 2011, to last year opening our 7th London restaurant The Betterment and our 9th international restaurant Pearl Social in Doha. I’m also proud to of supported some truly fantastic charities, in particular our recent work with JDRF, a charity that’s extremely close to my heart given our daughter’s struggle with type 1 diabetes.”

Giovanna Satta – Sommelier, Muse 

“I don’t know where to start because I have had many proud moments during my carrier as a sommelier. But I think an important one is the day that I decided to challenge myself: going to work for a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s not an easy task jumping from a one-starred restaurant, skipping the second star and diving straight into a three star. I wanted to prove to myself that I had enough courage to stand in a very hard old school environment. I learned the following:

Focus: every single second of the day no time to think about anything else just your job.
Dedication: the floor of the dining room was part of myself: I learned every single corner just to be able to spot every single detail.
Appreciation: this I learned during my time working with Jean Claude Breton the immortal Maitre D’ of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. He taught me and all the team how to love hospitality from the bottom of my heart. Hospitality is not easy and not for everybody. And finally James Lloyd, my Mentor, taught me how to work with one of the most competitive fine wine lists in London and how to handle and try the most expensive wine in the world.

Without the support of my parents and these two influential men, I probably couldn’t have achieved what I have to date, both professionally and personally.”

Francesca Rainone – Operations Manager, Cornerstone 

“My proudest moment has been having feedback about the one-year anniversary party, everyone posted videos on instagram and talked about it for weeks, it was even mentioned on tv! It was so much effort to organise, but I loved every moment – a great way to celebrate a phenomenal year.”

Kelly Cullen – Pastry Chef, Cornerstone 

“My proudest moment was when my parents came to eat at the restaurant. They’ve never seen me cooking at home or in any of my other workplaces, so it was really emotional knowing they were there watching me and eating my desserts! – they were very proud. Cooking for Jamie Oliver was also pretty cool!”

Sarah Frankland – Head Pastry Chef, Pennyhill Park 

I pushed myself to the limit participating in Great British Bake Off. After the filming, I was at a really low point mentally due to challenges whilst being on the show, as well as my personal struggle and fears of how I might be presented on television. I was confident in my ability as a pastry chef, but it was coping with harsh commentary and my nerves about my public perception that brought me down. My year turned around when I won Pastry Chef of the Year. This was my proudest moment, as my peers and the industry had chosen to bestow this accolade upon me. I am also immensely proud of my teams, current and previous. One of my biggest senses of achievement is when I can mentor my team to achieve their goals. Last year, Kate Mudge, one of my demi chef de parties, won the top score in the pastry graduate awards by the Craft Guild of Chefs. My work allows me to mentor, build and nurture the talent of the future in our industry. My kitchen has 80% female chefs and there are 25% female chefs across the Pennyhill Kitchens. When people comment on the lack of female chefs – I invite them to come and see my awesome team.