Anthea worked as a chef at the River Café for six years before co-founding Wild Radish, a delivery meal box service enabling people to engage in exceptional cooking and dining experiences at home. Wild Radish provides all customers need to make dishes created by Michelin chefs; the ingredients, a recipe which works, tips and paired wine.
Life before Leiths
Before enrolling on the Leiths diploma, Anthea had been working as a headhunter in London for almost five years, but didn’t feel convinced that this was her calling in life. “I was working in London, in the City, finding overachieving software programmers across the UK and moving them into eye-wateringly well-paid jobs (I was also doing new business development to find those roles to fill). I was oddly good at it, but it wasn’t how I’d seen myself earning money, and it wasn’t making me happy – it was something I’d fallen into out of university to clear my student debt. It left me wanting something more enriching, more tangible; something which positively fed back into my life, and was more than just a way to earn money.”
What drew you towards a career in food?
“I was 25 when I decided to pursue a career in food. I wanted to do something which would allow me to have a skill which I could be forever refining and would also give me career control; I wanted to have children someday, and I’m competitive – if I went on maternity leave and someone who was biting at my heels on the corporate ladder was suddenly ahead of me, I knew it would bug me. Plus, I’d sort of done the corporate thing, it was time for a vocation.
Fundamentally though, I was ok at cooking already, and I’d always been engaged and excited by cooking well. I’d been hesitant about turning a hobby into a career, and I wasn’t really sure exactly how it would pan out, but when I went to the Leiths open day (it was a gorgeous sunny day which always helps!), it felt like home – I took that as a sign it was the right direction to move in.”
What are the top things you learnt at Leiths?
“The true fundamentals of cooking. I learned things at Leiths which later as a chef I assumed everyone knew – but they really didn’t. I still draw on what I’ve learnt every day, that to do something really well, you should really understand the basics. Also learning that one recipe results in a myriad of different outcomes – the ‘human’ element to cooking is what makes it special. And there are so many different careers in food, it’s not all about being a chef. The directions my peers have gone in are diverse and inspiring.”
What do you love most about your job today?
“I get to be impactful on a broad-reaching scale, and empower cooks everywhere to achieve more than they thought they could in the kitchen. I also get to work with some incredible chefs, and draw on all the skills and knowledge I’ve accrued over the years to run a company which we hope will be a game changer in the space.”
Any wise words for future grads?
“There’s no right or wrong career in food. Find a place and a job that feels right for you, and follow your passion – you might be surprised where it takes you.”