Michael just graduated from Leiths in 2020 and has been volunteering with Cook to Care, who provide meals to disadvantaged people across South London who might otherwise go hungry. As part of their work, Michael led a team to prepare lunches for 80 primary school children daily during the summer holidays. He is now based in Manchester offering private catering and food styling services.
Michael has always been interested in food and drink, experimenting in the kitchen home, and then starting out working as a bartender in Manchester, followed by taking his bar work abroad to Australia and New Zealand.
“I learnt through my travels, reading and working in bars and restaurants, that I am truly interested in flavour and taste, and the skill of understanding and delivering beautiful and exciting food. I enjoyed bartending, but food and its combinations of flavours, ingredients, skills, textures and aesthetics, not to mention different cultures and contexts, offers the chance of limitless creativity. I’m excited and energised by cooking, and I knew I wanted the chance to express myself through food and have other people enjoy it. Learning about the approaches and techniques of chefs across the world has absorbed me and been a way of relaxing for me.”
“I chose Leiths because of its strong focus on technique and modern culinary trends. The course doesn’t restrict students in any way, and introduces us to the huge range of opportunities. Whether you want to work in kitchens and develop as a chef, become a food stylist, or any role within the industry, the course teaches you core skills, opens your eyes to opportunities. The direction and support from the teachers builds your confidence to work in any position you wish.
Leiths also stresses the importance of seasonality and local produce, focussing on the ingredients and testing your creativity around them when designing dishes and menus.”
“My course was halted temporarily by the COVID 19 pandemic, so I had a large break between my intermediate and advanced terms. Using my Leiths skills, I volunteered with a charity called Cook to Care, based in South London. Cook to Care provides meals for disadvantaged people across the area who might otherwise go hungry. As part of their work, I led a team of myself and two other chefs cooking lunches for 80 primary school children per day during the summer holidays. I had to plan meals, deal with suppliers, manage a professional kitchen, and get healthy meals out on time.”
“I am especially drawn to coastal cooking and seafood, so I may look to relocate to somewhere coastal either in the UK or elsewhere.
I’m interested in sustainability too. 2020 has been an extraordinary year for the hospitality industry and those that survive will do so because they have thought of creative ways to stay profitable, and reducing waste must surely feature in that thinking. Maybe this is the moment for smaller restaurants with lower waste and operating costs, but still using the flair we have to deliver new unique plates of food.”