Thursday, June 21, 2012

Farida Akadiri - A Leader of Women

Farida Akadiri is a woman on a mission. She organizes networking and mentoring events to help women achieve their dreams, whether personal or professional.

Farida Akadiri
© Discover Paris!

I had the privilege of attending Farida's most recent Women & Leadership dinner on Saturday, June 9th. It was held at the home of Diane Anthonissen, a private chef who provides customized culinary services for Discover Paris! clients. I introduced Diane and Farida a few weeks before, knowing that Farida is always looking for new venues and new ways to enhance the networking dinners that she has been holding since 2011. She thought that the idea of moving the dinner from a restaurant to a home had appeal. After they chatted for several minutes, it became apparent that Diane would not only be the chef for the evening, but also the guest speaker! Diane's story of leaving the petrochemical industry in the U.S. to pursue a career in cooking in France was perfect for Farida's group!

The energy in the room that evening was palpable. Farida had the women break up into groups to get to know each other, and Diane and her husband Eric served home-made gougères and a shrimp-citrus cocktail with avocado cream. Farida then introduced herself and the concept of Women & Leadership. Lots of discussion and laughter ensued!

Enjoying shrimp-citrus cocktail
© Discover Paris!

Groups working together
© Discover Paris!

Farida leading the group
© Discover Paris!

Diane emerged from the kitchen to tell the story of her career change to a rapt audience. Many questions were posed, and again, much discussion ensued.

Listening to Diane
© Discover Paris!

Diane addressing the group
© Discover Paris!

After Diane's presentation, it was time for the buffet. Cajun salmon, chicken, grilled bell peppers, coconut soup, Thai-style red curry sauce, and basmati rice comprised the menu for the evening. The group devoured these offerings, so delectable were they!

Buffet table
© Discover Paris!

Dinner is served
© Discover Paris!

Everyone served herself and went back to the living room for more discussion. Dessert - consisting of mini portions of chocolate mousse topped with crème Chantilly and mini lemon tarts topped with pistachios or a single raspberry - was served there. One of the attendees had brought a cake to celebrate another participant's birthday, and those who had room for more dessert sampled this as well.

As generally happens when conversation is lively and food is appetizing, the event lasted longer than anticipated. The empty serving dishes and the exchange of contact information and good wishes at the end of the evening were all the evidence that Diane and Farida needed to know that the event was a success!

Click here to find Farida and Women & Leadership on Facebook.
Click here to contact Discover Paris! about Diane Anthonissen's private chef services.


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