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Food XX Symposium and Awards celebrated women in the food and drinks industry in the best way possible. Here are five things we loved about it.

5 Things We Loved at Food XX Symposium and Awards

Annzra Denita, Supplied

FOOD XX | House and Leisure

The second we walked into the the first ever FOOD XX Symposium and Awards, we knew it was going to be something different. The energy was electric with excitement and anticipation of what the day would bring. Held on 12 February 2019 at the V&A Waterfront, the event saw womxn come together to learn, discuss and - most importantly - celebrate females thriving in the male-dominated food and drinks industry. 

The full day conference was organised by Studio H and was filled with talks, workshops and incredible food. Studio H founder Hannerie Visser says, 'The whole idea about FOOD XX is that we talk about current injustices and find solutions together, whilst simultaneously redressing exclusion and tokenism of womxn in the past.'

Here are five things that we loved about FOOD XX.

1. Representation 

 FOOD XX | House and Leisure

It was great to see the crowd reflect every aspect of the food and drinks industry at this annual conference, which celebrates the representation of womxn. Chefs, distillers, marketers and lifestyle journalists came from all over the country to be part of this game-changing event. Industry heavyweights mingled with those at the beginning of their careers, allowing for a wonderful exchange of ideas that extended beyond the programme. There is something special when womxn who have decided to change their careers and enter the food industry get to engage with chefs like Karen Dudley and Zola Nene with ease. 

ALSO READ: Set a Table with Karen Dudley

2. Plant-Based Offerings

FOOD XX | House and Leisure

You can't have a food symposium without there being delicious dishes to munch on – and boy did FOOD XX deliver. The morning started with breakfast by The General Store, which prepared warm apple crumble oats and toasted bagels with smashed avo and cheese. Throughout the day, Lady Bonin's Tea provided a range of herbal teas that we sipped from custom-made ceramic tea cups by Jade Paton Ceramics. Lunch was a veggie delight sponsored by Woolworths and prepared by some of the most amazing female chefs including Mokgadi Itsweng, Jessica Spiro, Colette Robert, Jules Randles, Jessica Shepherd and Kamini Pather.

Sweet treats included Yo Coco vegan ice cream and a divine confections designed by Lily (Vanilli) Jones. Krone, Hope on Hopkins, Woolworths and The Duchess ensured that we had enough to drink throughout the day. 

ALSO READ: Mom's Cooking: I Got it From My Mama

3. Amazing Speakers 

FOOD XX | House and Leisure

It's difficult to pick one or two talks that were the best because they were all so different and interesting. There were inspirational stories from entrepreneurs who carved a space in the market for themselves, panels tackling important issues facing the industry, and educational workshops that exposed people to something completely new.

The highlight real includes: PolkaPants founder Maxine Thompson on how she combined her love of food and fashion into a business, London's 'queen of cakes' Lily Jones of Lily Vanilli, whose clientele includes Elton John, Kate Moss and 10 Downing Street, panel discussion on food media and womxn's roles in the kitchen, and Dutch 'food futurist' Chloé Rutzerveld on her fascinating body of work. 

ALSO READ: 10 Female Food Businesses to Watch in 2019

4. The Little Details 

FOOD XX | House and Leisure

Colourful pastel decor set the tone for the day, and everywhere you looked, you found something interesting and inspiring. The hall had a pop-up shop filled with little delights ranging from cookbooks, clothes and ceramics. A compliment installation allowed you to take a paper with an inspiring message and leave one for someone else to have. A confessional wall let womxn ask questions anonymously that would be answered by clinical psychologist Carly Abramovitz. There was a  'Don’t Panic Room' where you could lay on a FatSak beanbag, listen to calming music and take a breath. These little additions elevated the day and helped make it very special. 

ALSO READ: 3 South African Ceramicists You Should Know Now

5. The FOOD XX Awards 

After all the talks, it was time for the awards. Womxn from different parts of the industry were nominated in various categories, and the winners received beautiful ceramic awards made by Ben Orkin. Scroll though the images below to see all the womxn who were honoured.