Women in hospitality: Maize Blaze

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, we caught up with the amazing Ruth Christianson – founder of modern Colombian food business Maize Blaze to ask her all about what the best thing is about being a female business owner in the hospitality industry.

What’s the best thing about being a business owner in the industry?

My favourite part of being in the food business in general is all the delicious free food from my own business and neighbouring businesses – it’s a perk that I think everyone in the industry would miss. Running Maize Blaze, I also enjoy the variety of tasks that make up my day. As a small food business I’ve had to learn the basics of food photography, marketing, social media, accounting, web design (the list goes on) and also get better over the years at managing people. I think having to delve into such a diverse skill set and the continual learning that is required is probably my favourite part – I love learning new things, implementing them and seeing results over the short and long term.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a woman in street food?

I have changed the business model over the past few years away from street food and into fixed units so I’m not sure how street food markets have changed since I was on them. In my current growth position for Maize Blaze, with four fixed units, I feel my management style is probably where I feel the most impact from being a woman. I am not a micro manager, I much prefer to give people the tools and processes to manage themselves and take ownership. I do find that I am constantly being told that I’m too nice, but if things don’t work out and I have to make business decisions, the backlash is out of proportion in comparison to a male business owner making those same decisions. I presume this is not only the food industry, but I would love to hear other food business owners on this.

Which female business owners/caterers are you inspired by?

I have recently got to know Lamya from ethical catering company Arch Food and her dedication to sustainability and zero waste has reignited my passion for making sure we are being as sustainable as we can be at Maize Blaze.

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