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Women in Food series: Ivy Toku, Chef de Partie, Restaurant Associates

Case Study

With a culinary career spanning over a period of more than 20 years, Ivy Toku explains that support, encouragement and the right development opportunities are needed for women who are considering a role as a Chef.

Ivy became a Chef in 1994, she worked as a Foodservice Assistant before realizing her dream of working in the kitchen. She approached the Head Chef she worked for at the time to see if there were any culinary opportunities available and this is when she was advised to attend a cookery course. Ivy began working as a Commis Chef while completing a cooking course at college, she then went onto develop her skills further by embarking on a pastry course.

Ivy has worked across various office sites catering for the professional market during her career and has now worked for Restaurant Associates, the executive dining division of Compass Group UK & Ireland for 17 years. She currently works as a Chef de Partie for Restaurant Associates at KMPG in Canary Wharf.

Throughout her career Ivy has always worked hard to juggle her role as a mum whilst also working in the kitchen. Ivy explained that as it hasn’t always been easy working fulltime as a mother it was essential to have the relevant support system and good management who could assist her while she juggled family life with her culinary career. Whilst it came with its challenges, Ivy has enjoyed working as a Chef while being a mum!

On Women in Food:

“I think the Women in Food scheme is a great initiative to encourage more women to enter the industry. Female Chefs are in need of encouragement, Chefs who are busy being mums and have a busy family life need a supportive team around them. If you are dedicated, enjoy your role, and have a good management team then you can still succeed as a Chef. Training is also important as you want to develop a variety of skills and this is the best way to develop your career.”

On Compass Group UK & Ireland:

“I have worked for Compass for 17 years now, it has been a great journey and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I have always been surrounded by great people and have worked with some amazing teams that have always been supportive in my development and role as a Chef. Working as a Chef everyday makes me proud, I really enjoy what I do, so I do my best, when I see my customers enjoying my food it makes me happy.”





Ivy Toku