WOMEN in the food industry are set to head a panel to talk about how to become successful entrepreneurs.

The event at Lancaster University will see women such as Blackburn's Mylk Plus founder Camilla Ainsworth, and co-founder of sauces Nowt Poncy, Karen Walker, of Rossendale, give a talk on how to make it in the industry.

One of the panellists on January 30 will be Stosie Madi, the co-owner and chef of the Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland.

Born in Senegal and raised in Gambia with French and Lebanese roots, the chef now lives in Clitheroe and is excited to give a talk to other women on how to be a successful entrepreneur.

She said: “Any organisation that shines a light on women in diverse industries is heroic enough and has my 100 per cent support and commitment and more so one that does it for women in the hospitality and food industry."

The award-winning chef first opened a restaurant in 1993 when she was just 23, and has since travelled the world, before taking up the Parkers Arms in 2007 and turning it into a gastropub voted eighth best in the country.

Ms Madi thinks the restaurant industry may put people off due to the long hours.

She said: “I think women and even men, are put off by the stereotypes portrayed about the industry.

“Long hours, punitive work, male dominated workplace etc, and it is hugely lacking in role models.

“Very few women I know do what I do and own their own pub, run it, cook in it and drive it daily.

“Mostly they own restaurants or food businesses or chains, have huge investments from big male dominated companies and always have to answer to someone else really.

“There are all great things but very different to owning, branding and running a pub.”

Ms Madi also thinks that the industry needs to do more to support younger people.

She said: “The main thing is millennials do not really like to invest a lot of time in long working hours and prefer a better life and work balance and rightfully so.

“The digital age helps them enter the industry in other ways than hands on working and this is what we have to work on."

“The industry as a whole need to be remodelled to suit the millennial lifestyle.

“I think this could be changed if the media insisted on always giving equal platform to women on TV shows like MasterChef.”

To hear Ms Madi give a talk at the event, visit https://www.womeninthefoodindustry.com/