We’re giddy with excitement (alongside a dose of nervous pre-exam apprehension) that we’re opening Blacklock in Manchester this Autumn in a Grade II Listed warehouse. Do sign up to our newsletter to keep up with every step of the journey and to ensure you’re first in line for Soft Launch bookings!

Maria McCann, our Head of Operations, and Odette Schwartz, our Director of People, were included in Code’s Annual Women of the Year for 2023!

The list recognises the work and achievements of some awe-inspiring women who are changing the face of our industry over the past year. It’s a fantastic accolade and a testament to Maria and Odette’s brilliant work, both in and outside of our restaurants.

Odette Schwartz

People director, Blacklock

Odette joined Blacklock with a wealth of experience in the industry, having played a vital role in Nando’s coming first in The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Best Big Companies to Work For in 2010. At Blacklock, Schwartz is helping support the recruitment of key roles into the business and defining the company’s values. The company’s underlying principle is to put people first, focusing on personal development, listening to staff feedback when there are concerns and increasing its benefits packages in 2022. A survey last year saw 97% of staff recommend Blacklock as a place to work, so it’s no surprise the company’s retention levels are strong – thanks in no small part to Odette.

Maria McCann

Head of operations, Blacklock

You don’t become one of the most popular spots for Sunday lunch in London by chance. Gordon Ker’s Blacklock has always put a strong emphasis on its people and McCann is a great example of this. With a wealth of experience in both smaller and larger hospitality groups, she has had a “hugely positive impact” at Blacklock, boosting morale among staff and taking a lead role in the opening of the upcoming Canary Wharf site, the brand’s biggest yet. “Openings can be very stressful, but with a great team they are fantastic fun,” says McCann. She has also worked closely with Action Against Hunger for eight years, helping raise £250,00, has close connections to Only A Pavement Away, and is a strong supporter of mothers working in hospitality.

We are also thrilled to see Karenza Warren included in this year’s Disruptors category, shining a light on the women challenging the status quo and changing the perception of hospitality across the industry and beyond.

Karenza Warren

Director, Philip Warren Butchers

Philip Warren has become one of the UK’s leading butchers, with chefs across the country, including Paul Ainsworth and Tomos Parry, sourcing from the Cornish supplier. Karenza makes sure the business runs smoothly, running the accounts and playing a crucial role in ensuring the enterprise has grown. Along with husband Ian, Karenza helped launch the Good Beef Index, changing the way British meat is graded, with an emphasis on quality not quantity.

Congratulations again to all the incredible women featured this year. We look forward to seeing more female Blacklockers grace this list in years to come!

For more details and the full list of Code’s 100 Women of 2023 , click here.