Chris' Story

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Chris' Story

In 2014, Chris Rowley was 31 years old and working as Group Brand Manager for Lloyds Bank in the City. Living in London and supporting three children, he was paying the bills but he wasn’t fulfilled. With the support of his wife Rachel, he took the brave decision to resign and retrain at Leiths.

“I loved food and I wanted a job that fulfilled me,” he said.


“I’ve never been afraid of hard work and I wanted to do something I loved.”


Chris took the nine month Diploma at Leiths and thanks to his thoughtfully designed, beautifully cooked dishes, he was named Student of the Year.


Then in 2016, Chris and Rachel purchased Ballintaggart Farm in the idyllic Perthshire highlands, overlooking the Tay Valley.


With four perfectly formed bedrooms, an exquisite restaurant and a cookery school on site, Ballintaggart has been such a hit with adventurous foodies that Chris, Rachel and his brother Andrew are already expanding, launching an eight bedroom hotel later this year.


“I always dreamed of starting a business like Ballintaggart,” Chris says, “but the idea really started to develop and grow legs while I was training at Leiths.


“We have an absolutely phenomenal larder up here in the highlands. Most of our ingredients are grown in the kitchen garden, foraged from surrounding hedgerows, fields and woodlands, or sourced from local artisan producers.


“What Leiths gave me was a really thorough training in modern professional cookery, along with loads of encouragement and inspiration.


“If I hadn’t trained at Leiths I’d never be able to create dishes like Scrabster cod with Great Glen venison salami, or Pumpkin and ginger tart with local creme fraiche.”


Chris says that he now has the best of both worlds.


“I still use my marketing skills every day, but I get to be far more creative. We are raising the children in a countryside location, yet we’re only a ninety minute drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow and we’re on the main Inverness railway line.


“Leiths gave me the skills and knowledge I needed to make this happen for my family.”


Author: Ailie Bishop

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