October 17, 2022

Female hospitality leaders show solidarity with Iranian women

Female hospitality leaders including Clare Smyth, Andi Oliver, Sally Abé, Olia Hercules, and Kate Nicholls have shown solidarity with the women’s movement taking place in Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

In a video organised by the Persian Hospitality Network, Michelin-starred chefs, restaurateurs, and influencers including Noda Marvani, Leyli Homayoonfar, Mandana Moghaddam, Mersedeh Prewer, Natalie Jahangiry, and have sought to raise awareness of the anti-government protests taking place in Iran.

Many of the protests have been led by women following the death of Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained by the ‘morality police’for allegedly wearing ‘improper’ hijab.

The not-for-profit organisation has encouraged people to share the video across social media and ‘be the voice’ of Iranian women, which the authorities have sought to silence by restricting internet access across the country.

The video was inspired by a similar social media post recently shared by actor Nazanin Boniadi, which saw famous actors show their support by echoing the slogan ‘woman, life, freedom’, which has been adopted by women within Iran.

Women in Iran have been cutting their hair, burning their hijabs, and protesting across the country, with at least 201 people killed in the protests according to Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights.

In response, women across the world have been cutting their hair in solidarity and thousands of people are taking part in protests in London’s Trafalgar Square earlier this month. The UK has imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police in response to the violent crackdown on protesters.

The Persian Hospitality Network was launched in 2021 by Piers Zangana, director of PR and communications business Susa Comms, to celebrate and raise awareness of Persian chefs, cooks, food writers, hoteliers, suppliers, restaurants,and brands in the UK.

Zangana said: “What is happening in Iran is heartbreaking and I’m so grateful for so many of the incredible women working in the food and hospitality sector who have come out and shown their support for the people of Iran.

“For more than 43 years, the regime has sought to oppress and silence women and men in Iran.

“What is happening has never been seen before. Women are leading what has become a nationwide and global protest against the regime in Iran. The bravery and courage being shown is an inspiration to us all.”

With close to 100,000 Persian people living across the UK, the country is home to the third largest Persian population in the world outside of Iran.

Notes to editors
Media contact:
For more information, please contact piers.zangana@susacomms.com or call 07960 078935.

The female hospitality professionals who took part in the video included:

• Clare Smyth, chef-patron, Core by Clare Smyth, London
• Andi Oliver, presenter and owner, Wadadli Kitchen, London
• Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UKHospitality
• Sally Abé, consultant chef, the Conrad London St James
• Noda Marvani, founder and managing director, KoochaMezze Bar, Bristol
• Pervin Todiwala, co-patron and operations director, Café Spice Namaste, London
• Beth Cullen-Kerridge, sculptor and co-owner of the Hand & Flowers, Buckinghamshire
• Mitra Esmizadeh, head of culinary/talent director, 10Ten Culinary
• Natalie Jahangiry, co-founder, Modern Persian Kitchen
• Mersedeh Prewer, founder, Saffron & Herbs
• Lisa Jenkins, managing editor, The Caterer
• Lorraine Copes, founder, Be Inclusive Hospitality
• Olia Hercules, food writer
• Leyli Homayoonfar, chef-owner, Bab Haus, Glamorgan
• Madana Moghaddam, food writer, TV chef, supper club host
• Jessica Rothman, SW3 Kitchen
• Katherine Price, freelance hospitality journalist
• Hannah Harley Young, host, Crazy Sexy Food podcast
• Sally Beck, general manager, Royal Lancaster London
• Adele Oxberry, founder and CEO, Umbrella Training
• Wendy Bartlett, founder and chief executive, BM Catering
• Emma Ainsworth, co-owner, Paul Ainsworth at No6, Cornwall
• Lin Arigho-Dickens, marketing director, BM Catering
• Margriet Vandezande-Crump, co-proprietor, the Greyhound Beaconsfield

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