2 minutes with Maria Canabel
Occupation: Food Journalist and founder of Parabere Forum
You are the President of Parabere Forum, an annual conference for women in gastronomy...why is this conference relevant as many would say there are enough food conferences around the world?
Parabere Forum is a not-for-profit international platform featuring women's voices on major food issues. Nobody is cooking or making any kind of demonstration. It is a forum for debate, talks, exchanges, awareness and innovative action plans ... We want to build a powerful, global network to strengthen the influence of women and promote diversity in the food and wine industry.
What are the key factors we can encourage to find a better gender balance in gastronomy?Encourage, coach and mentor women working in gastronomy
Look for gender diverse candidates when recruiting or promoting
Find out and raise awareness about restaurants owned by women
Seek out and support women suppliers
React against sexist behaviour and language by explaining a better way
Work for an equal, not a tokenistic approach by:
Collaborating with media who feature both male and female chefs
Participating in conferences with both male and female speakers
Accepting awards that recognise everyone equally, not exclusively
Parabere forum has so far taken place in Spain and Italy, will you come and do one in Australia in the future?
We would love to come to Australia. In the last two editions we have had 600 delegates from 30 countries. It is 100% people from the industry, passionate about food and wine and they usually stay in the host countries after the forum in order to discover the terroir. Which makes sense. You should understand that we have delegates coming from Australia, or from Alaska or from Argentina, or USA to Italy. They do not come for the 2 days of the forum. They come and then they stay longer in order to discover the terroir.
I have been in Australia 4 times and each time I am totally dazzled by your terroir. I think your terroir is never ending! So, imagine to announce to the delegates, which the majority have never been to Australia, that the next Forum could be in Oz! They will be amazed! For people in the industry, that travel a lot and that are very connected on social media, if there is one place where they still can be surprised this is Australia.
Where do you take friends from out-of-town when they visit Paris?
A great pocket-café place called "Ten Belles" owned by Anna Trattles and Alice Quillet. Best coffee in the city, great pastries UK style and cool and international atmosphere. It is near Canal Saint-Martin. I love also Septime by chef Bertrand Grebaut, probably the best new-bistrot in Paris. Extraordinary wine list and ingredients from all over the world with a French touch.
What has been your number 1 dining experience around the world?
Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.
Currently, there are around 5000 women worldwide on the Parabere database, what can our female Australian food and wine professionals do to join the database and what does that give them access to?
Yes, we have 5000 members in our network: chefs, producers, sommeliers, farmers, food scientists, food anthropologists, etc... You can become a member for free. We supply contacts from the database on request (free of charge) and we always ask the permission before giving any data. It is the law in France and we must protect our members.
You can follow the conversation with Parabere on Instagram @parabereforum