Yorkshire Life Forward Ladies Luncheon - The Black Swan, Helmsley
- Credit: Archant
Top business women from across Yorkshire join us for lunch at The Black Swan in Helmsley
Griselda Togobo spends her working life encouraging and supporting enterprising and career-minded women, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that when asked to cite her own inspiration, she chooses a particularly canny business woman – her mother.
Born and raised in Ghana, the managing director of Leeds-based Forward Ladies paid warm tribute to her hard-working mother at our business women’s lunch at The Black Swan in Helmsley. Her mother had little schooling, giving up her own education so she could look after her younger brother, and had seven children herself from three marriages. But this didn’t stop her building up a string of successful construction and textile businesses.
‘She could not read or write, but I was brought up by a woman who had so much self-belief there was nothing that could stop her achieving her goals,’ said Griselda, who qualified as an engineer, studied at Cambridge and was headhunted by money experts Deloitte, where she qualified as an accountant.
‘Then I got married, got pregnant and moved to Yorkshire. I was home with my child and I realised that I was not inspired by my work. This was an opportunity to do something about it, so I started speaking and mentoring and that became my new career.’
Griselda took over the helm of Forward Ladies from founder Etta Cohen in May 2014. It’s the UK’s largest membership-based organisation for enterprising and career-minded women, with a database of around 13,500 professionals.
The business runs more than 350 events a year including an inspirational speaker programme, annual International Women’s Day conferences, Women in Business Awards, business breaks, training and development workshops, mentoring and social events.
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It also works with blue chip and corporate organisations who want to develop their female customers and staff through Forward Ladies’ bespoke leadership programmes.
‘I was not really expecting to buy Forward Ladies when Etta retired, but it’s been an incredible, if surprising, experience,’ said Griselda. ‘I decided to take a leap and have confidence in myself because, frankly, I believe that anything is possible. I encourage you all to step up in the same way; to nominate yourself for awards and inspire the younger women coming up behind you.’
She also encouraged the prestigious gathering of top Yorkshire business women to run their various enterprises with kindness. ‘Treat everyone with respect, kindness and compassion,’ she said.
‘I believe in the power of reciprocity. What you give will come back to you many times over. Most women are not driven by money alone, but you should know that compassion and kindness will get you business.’
Griselda’s inspiring speech came at the end of a highly enjoyable lunch, created by The Black Swan’s new head chef, Patrick Bardoulet, a classically-trained Frenchman who has enjoyed prestigious roles in Michelin-star kitchens in the UK as well as five-star dining destinations in Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus and Dubai.
He loves working with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients so, naturally, he’s enthused by the abundance of our county.
‘We aim to showcase Yorkshire’s finest seasonal produce to an optimum level throughout the hotel, said general manager Paul O’Hanlon.
‘Patrick’s passion, experience and cosmopolitan flair brings exciting flavour combinations to our modern British menus. Our aim, as ever, is to deliver excellent dining of the best calibre.’
If our four-course menu was anything to go by, Patrick has certainly hit the ground running. His crab, mango and scallop tartlet was a sweetly delicious reminder of the sea; the parmesan crisp and soft-boiled quail’s egg propelled his tuna Niçoise salad into another dimension; earthily rich truffle provided the perfect counterpoint to the honey and lime tones in his chicken dish and the trio of treats that made up the pudding course was a masterclass in flavour and texture. n
The Black Swan is in Market Place, Helmsley, YO62 5BJ. For more details, call 01439 770466 or visit blackswan-helmsley.co.uk For more information about Forward Ladies, call 0845 6434 940 or visit forwardladies.com
Crab, mango and scallop tartlet with ratatouille and basil sauce
Black Swan-style tuna Niçoise salad
Chicken breast with black truffle, beetroot, carrot, swede croissant, kale, butternut squash, honey and lime
Pistachio and raspberry macaroon, chocolate gateau and lychee sorbet
Prosecco, Carpene Malvolti, Italy NV: a very refreshing, extra dry wine from one of the most prestigious wineries in Veneto. Its founder, Antonio Carpene, was a forerunner in the application of science to the art of wine-making. The estate is now run by his great-grandson. This particular Prosecco has elements of ripe pear, crisp apple and fresh bread and makes an excellent aperitif.
The Vermentino, Berton Vineyards, Eden Valley, South Australia 2013: created using a spicy and aromatic grape variety, this is a full-flavoured wine with a balancing clean acidity. The Vermentino is an exciting addition to Berton’s Metal Label range; its fresh, steely, zingy, almost green-tinted ripeness making it an idiosyncratic must-try.
Pinot Noir, Tutatara Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013: this lightly perfumed red has a powerful, flavoursome reach with fresh cherries and an underlying herby barkiness. A subtle, medium-bodied pinot, it’s made with the classic Burgundy red grape to produce a good structure on the palate.
Deviation 2009, Quady Winery, California: an orange muscat infused with rose geranium and damiana, this is a sweet, heady wine that tastes like a starry, tropical night. Because it’s infused with plants, Deviation is known as an ‘aromatised wine’, but it remains a perfect pudding wine that works particularly well with truffles, cookies, vanilla, cheese and fruit.
:: Wines kindly supplied by Hallgarten Druitt. For further details, call 01582 722538 or visit hdnwines.co.uk