CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today CLICK HERE

Yorkshire Life Ladies' Business Lunch - The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

23:04 21 March 2012

Yorkshire Life Ladies' Business Lunch - The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Yorkshire Life Ladies' Business Lunch - The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Movers and shakers from across the county join us for our first Ladies' Business Lunch, as Jo Haywood reports Photographs by Andy Bulmer


Smoked salmon mousse, sour dough crisp, soft herbs and horseradish

Pressing of Yorkshire chicken, crispy skin, truffle brioche, baby onions, onion jam and honey dressing

Pan-fried sea bass, caramelised cauliflower, cauliflower florets, roasted hazelnuts, samphire and Jerez vinegar

Oven-roasted lamb rump, pomme puree, hot pot vegetables and rosemary jus

Flavours and textures of orange

When Etta Cohen talks, people listen. She started talking to a business colleague over lunch 12 years ago and now talks to hundreds, if not thousands, of women every year as part of her Leeds-based support organisation Forward Ladies.

It started with a lunch for two, then five and now, 12 years later, thousands of woman benefit from our 400 or so events every year, she told a rapt gathering of some of Yorkshires top business women. We have been successful because of women like you; women eager to seek out solutions to the challenges we face in business.

I got divorced and had to sell my house when my children were just two and six. It was the best decision I ever made in my life, but it was also hard. Those tough times gave me a greater understanding of the problems women face every day.

Trying to bring up children while working full-time was just not accepted when I did it 25 years ago, but thankfully we have come an awful long way since then. That doesnt mean, however, that we havent got a long way still to go.

Etta and our guests enjoyed a generously-proportioned tasting menu at the Black Swan Hotel that started with creamy, soft smoked salmon given crunch by a wafer-thin sour dough crisp and bite by a dash of delicious horseradish.

Next came sensationally savoury rounds of pressed chicken balanced perfectly by a syrupy sweet onion jam, followed swiftly by an elegant plate of sea bass, its delicate texture set against the snap and crunch of samphire and hazelnuts.

The talented kitchen brigades fourth savoury offering included two portions of lamb, one roasted, the other slowly braised to spoon-slice softness, which prepared the palate beautifully for something sweet to finish.

This came in the ingenious guise of a selection of orange-based confections. There was sorbet, cake, jelly, foam and granita, but the surprise standout hit the one that brought a veritable concerto of oohs and aahs was a shot of tea. A potent mix of pomegranate, orange, star anise, pepper, chilli, cinnamon and secret bits and bobs the waiting staff could not be bribed to reveal, it was simply stunning.

The meal drew high praise from our food and drink consultant Annie Stirk, who described it as completely fabulous, and from Etta, who said she was keen to use modern business technology to spread the word even if she wasnt quite sure how it worked.

Im a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to technology, she admitted with a wry smile, greeted by several nods of recognition by the gathered ladies. But even I can see how vital it is to modern business. You dont have to understand it, you just have to appreciate what it can do for you and your business.

I will certainly be tweeting about this lovely lunch weve had today. And you dont get better marketing than that.

Moving forward

Forward Ladies is a business networking organisation for professional women founded in Leeds by Etta Cohen 12 years ago.

It began as a small group of professional women meeting and sharing experiences. Since then, it has become the norths largest womens networking and business support organisation, supporting more than 13,500 women throughout Yorkshire, the Humber, the Isle of Man, Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.

Forward Ladies runs more than 400 events a year, offering everything from business development workshops and inspirational speakers to networking lunches, webinars, award ceremonies and trade missions.

The network is very inclusive and open to all professional women, from any sector, any age and any stage in their career, said Etta. Events are non-threatening, welcoming and supportive.

We are expanding because we believe that we have a positive contribution to make to support women in business particularly in these challenging economic times. Women want support, business contacts and value for money, and thats what we hope we give them.
To find out more about its work and to check out its forthcoming events, visit

The print version of this article appeared in the April 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here


Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 09:38
Falcon Manor Luncheon

Guests settle in for a lovely lunch in a high-flying North Yorkshire hotel. Words by Jo Haywood. Photographs by Andy Bulmer

Read more
Yorkshire Life Luncheon
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Ye Old Sun Inn, Tadcaster

Here at Ye Old Sun Inn there is a great mix from the Olde Worlde Charm of the 18c building and the delight of the recent refurbishments throughout.

Read more
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Yorkshire Christmas hampers

Take a look at the counties finest hamper suppliers this Christmas

Read more
Friday, November 20, 2015
10 of the best champagnes and sparkling wines for Christmas

It’s hard to deny a glass of champagne over the festive period - but which sparkling wines are worth the splurge and which should you avoid?

Read more
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Watch Elf on the big screen and enjoy delicious three course themed dinner at Harvey Nichols

Enjoy Elf on the big screen whilst tucking into a delicious three course themed dinner, gourmet popcorn and a welcome cocktail to toast the merry evening.

Read more
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Enjoy a Carols by Candlelight concert at Harvey Nichols with St Peters Singers

Join us at the Espresso Bar for a three course meal and a glass of Harvey Nichols mulled wine, while enjoying a mixture of contemporary and classic festive carols by St Peter’s Singers.

Read more
Friday, November 13, 2015
Apple Pie or Apple Crumble - what do you prefer?

Is it fair to ask anyone who loves puddings to choose between apple pie and apple crumble? Esther Leach asks award-winning chef Stephanie Moon

Read more
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Afternoon tea at Ye Old Sun Inn

Enjoy an afternoon tea for 2, including a glass of fizz, for only £30

Read more
Monday, November 9, 2015
Join Iris Restaurant as they celebrate their 3rd birthday with a five-course tasting menu

Children under 11 eat for free at lunchtimes on Sundays

Read more
Friday, November 6, 2015

Tony Greenway has a taste of Yorkshire culture

Read more
6 of the best
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Spicentice Tikka Masala Kit

A great way to use up leftovers from Christmas dinner, this turkey tikka masala recipe is the perfect Boxing Day supper

Read more
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Wine and dine at the Iris Restaurant for £29.99

Two people can enjoy two courses and a carafe of wine for £29.99

Read more
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Awards.

On 21 September, over 150 highly esteemed guests, finalists and sponsors joined Yorkshire Life to celebrate the 22nd Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards at Rudding Park, Harrogate - here we announce the winners

Read more
Monday, November 2, 2015
Scott's Fish and Chips

Guests join us for lunch at a North Yorkshire restaurant where fish, chips and fun are always on the menu

Words by Jo Haywood Photographs by Andy Bulmer

Read more
Yorkshire Life Luncheon

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Yorkshire's trusted business finder

Job Search in the Cotswolds

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search