We sat down with one of our wonderful chefs, Chanelle, for a quick Q&A in light of Internationals Womens Day. She gave us an insight on her life and background and what inspired her to become what she is now. Here’s how it went!
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in London but growing up my mother would often take my sister and I ‘back home’ which was our grandmother’s birth place-the beautiful, tropical paradise island in the Caribbean that is Barbados. It was during these trips that my love for Caribbean food turned into part of everyday life back in England. It was always a great comfort to have something that would take us back to the sunny tropics
whilst stuck home on account of miserable British weather. Therefore, Caribbean food became a big part of family life from a very early age and my mother would pass down to me, all the recipes that her grandmother had taught her as a child.
What has been your biggest challenge as a woman?
My biggest challenge as a woman has always been my battle with the lack of self-confidence, negative feelings and anxiety. Due to past traumas in my life, I always second guessed my abilities in everything I did. Since having children it has been my determination to prove not only to them, but to myself that you can do anything you put your mind to and you can achieve any dream if you believe in yourself. Sometimes hitting rock bottom can be the best thing that could ever happen because your stronger when you’ve fought your way back up again.
The 2021 theme for IWD is #ChooseToChallenge – have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve experienced gender bias and inequality?
Being raised in a single parent family, my mother taught me to be very independent and to learn many skills such as DIY and hairdressing. Whilst the latter is most commonly seen as a ‘feminine’ skill set, DIY projects and multi-trade are commonly thought of as being a man’s job. Having the ability to carry out impressive home improvements that really turn your house into a home, has been something I have always enjoyed. I found over the years that people are shocked to learn that a woman has been able to undertake such tasks alone and this has been something that’s always troubled me. I consider it to be ignorant to spread the idea that you will
struggle to do something, on account of your sex alone. I believe that If you have the passion for something, you should never let another person’s words get in the way.
What advice do you have for other women who want to turn their passion into a business?
I have confidence that where there is a strong will to do something, you will find the way to make it happen! Picture yourself as the YOU that you want to become, and each day take a small step towards achieving your goal. As women we tend to be our own biggest critics but are the first to offer help and advice to our loved ones when they need it. Let’s start to see ourselves as a loved one and feed our own minds with the same positive energy that we would our closest and dearest.
Name two women who inspire you, and why?
The two women who inspired me most growing up are both teachers. The first is my high school English teacher who really helped me to see my worth and to believe in my talents. She always found a innovative way to bring out the best in me and she really showed me the amazing role
that teachers play in a young person’s life. Therefore, I have never forgotten the importance of knowledge….it really is power!
Secondly, my mother showed me how to take lemons and turn them into lemonade, in the literal sense but also as a lesson throughout life. She taught me that we may not like the hand we get dealt but we can always find a blessing and a joy in each day. She instilled in me the message- it’s
not about what happens in life it’s really about how we deal with the things that happen. And so I made a promise to teach my own children that if ever things seem bleak, all you must do, is what you can do….. change your mindset, have a little faith and you will do more than you ever thought