Intermediate Skills Part 1

Leiths was setup by Prue Leith (writer, restaurateur and TV personality) in the 1970s.  The school is based in West London and has become a leading cookery school in the UK for chefs looking for professional catering qualifications, but also for the likes of me, a cook enthusiast with a range of course to suit skills and cuisines.

My first impression of the school is that it’s very well organised, especially considering the number of courses that are run, some in tandem with others.  The staff are extremely knowledgeable and have spent extensive time in the industry.  The nice thing seems to be that the chefs want to teach, having done their time in busy services in professional kitchens.

leiths kitchenI felt intimidated walking in such a large a kitchen, with chefs working in their comfort zone!  But also excitement as I walked through the doors, where other pros have completed their diploma and begun their careers as chefs.

I did wonder if I had chosen the right course, looking at the week’s menu, covering everything from bread, pastry, meat, fish, sauces and desserts.  There certainly was no time for hanging around.  Our days were either spent in the kitchen, cooking ourselves, or in the demonstration kitchen learning skills and tasting different elements of a dish.  At first, I thought I was sold short not being in the kitchen all the time, but I think one week in a professional kitchen, training with chefs across the spectrum of the cookery world would have become very tiring.

With Leiths’s format, I would say that I learnt more skills and tips about dishes, how to get yourself out of trouble and matching ingredients that just being given a recipe card and told to crack on!  I have about twenty pages of notes that need writing up, but I feel more confident as a cook with this knowledge.

Despite being on the course 9:30 – 4:30 Monday – Friday, nothing ever felt rushed and by the end of the week, we were all left thinking about how quickly the week had passed and not wanting it to finish.  That must be testament to the way Leiths setup worked.

warm duck saladDishes we accomplished in the week were sea bass (filleted) with lentils, monkfish with hollandaise, warm duck salad, hazelnut meringue cake, bread, pear and amaretto loaf, rack of lamb (french trimmed) and summer rolls to name but a few.

On the course, I met some great people, also passionate about food.  I’ll not be forgiven if I don’t name check a few classmates; Emma, Eva, Anne, Louise, Jules and Robbie.

A great touch from Leiths was that the menus were organised in such a way that if you cooked in the morning, you had your own lunch to eat and if you were cooking in the afternoon, you had food to take home.  Carry out bags, boxes and tubs were all supplied and elements of dishes could be finished at home to show off your new skills to your nearest and dearest 🙂

Now, I just need to arrange when can I do part two of the course?

If you’re interested in attending a course yourself, visit their site at

All my reviews on this site are impartial.  I am not paid or receive any incentives to place reviews.


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