Home Made Talent At Leiths
We speak to school's former student now managing director Camilla Schneideman
Leiths School of Food and Wine has earned an international reputation as being a first class 'culinary institute' for chefs, producing some of the industry’s biggest names. Their guiding principle is to impart enthusiasm for the food and wine trade and instil a lasting love of good food and wine.
“The professional courses run for one year or three terms,” says Camilla Schneideman who is currently interviewing three people a day looking to join the course in September 2009. “It’s a career decision, an investment in your future. I see people who are unhappy with their current careers. They’ve asked themselves why am I doing this? Why not do something I love?”
Although the course centres on skills in the kitchen, Leiths’ students learn a lot more than simply how to cook. “We prepare our students for a career in the food industry, we make sure they know that there are alternatives other than working in a kitchen, for example food journalism, food styling or running their own catering business.”
Camilla continued, “The uniqueness of Leiths is that we train our students to become culinary professionals. When they leave here, our students are able to work for food magazines, supermarkets, recipe testing, some don’t want to work 16 hour days in a kitchen although of course we do offer help with that alongside other options in case they find themselves standing behind the same stove in 20 years wanting to do something different.”
Leiths graduate Camilla, who was appointed Managing Director of the school in 2008, says, “Some college students are trained to cook, at Leiths they’re trained to think, to have wider horizons that perhaps they hadn’t thought of before. We’re teaching life skills.”
To help prepare students for life outside Leiths, Chris Barber runs an innovative venture called Leiths Food Solutions aimed at helping chefs, owners and operators to grow their businesses. By drawing on the skills and expertise of some of the most experienced names in the food industry, Barber and his team can deliver the creativity, revenue opportunities and profile of the restaurant industry's leading practitioners to clients across the UK.
He says, “Working in the industry we all love is one of the most demanding life-choices you can make - but the personal and financial rewards on offer are potentially limitless.”
Leiths also has close links with some of the UK's top restaurants, which provide the students with work experience, and many successful graduates go on to work for them. Leiths List is the School’s employment agency which also provides career advice for students.
Leiths is not restricted to career cooks - many enthusiastic amateurs join their varied programme of courses. Holiday and part time courses provide scope for interested amateurs of all ages and specialist courses are taken by professional and enthusiastic home cooks alike.
Leiths School’s many cookery books, published by Bloomsbury, are produced at the School, with recipes devised, tested and tasted by the teachers. The curriculum and course work are taken from Leiths Cookery Bible and Leiths Techniques Bible. The latest book is titled Leiths Simple Cookery by Viv Pidgeon and Jenny Stringer and is available here.
Easter and Spring Ideas To Get The Whole Family Cooking - As Easter approaches family meals become the focus of more attention, from hot cross buns and cakes at tea, to roast lamb on Easter Sunday Lunch we run a range of workshops tailored specifically for these Easter requirements. Workshops include popular carving demonstration evening, (31st March) cakes and baking workshop (8th April) and chocolate workshop (9th April).
For a more in-depth knowledge of cookery, one week cookery courses are a great way to use Easter holidays constructively. Designed for home cooks the beginner and intermediate week is a hands-on introduction to new recipes and dishes which can be enjoyed at home. They are a great way of building up confidence in the kitchen. Equally if parents are looking to entertain children over the Easter break they could send their teenagers on the Beginners course for Teenagers. This four day cookery course, held on 6th April, offers an introduction to cookery, It is a fantastic way of boosting teenagers confidence and they leave with a great sense of achievement, they may even be keen to help in the kitchen over Easter.
Alternatively for the time pressed there are evening cookery courses. Run weekly for 10 or 4 weeks the next class starts on 2 March. By the end students will be able to entertain at home with confidence, especially since now eating in is the new eating out. The classes themselves are also a fun and sociable way of meeting new people.
Finally, over the spring period Camilla Schneideman has introduced a number of new and exotic classes. Healthy Eating Workshop, (28th April) and Sushi and Simple Japanese Cooking (12th May), all of which are innovative and fun to attend.
Further details on classes, can be found here.