Food fit for the opera!

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Food fit for the opera!

You may know that Leiths School of Food and Wine was set up by Prue Leith and Caroline Waldegrave in 1975, but did you know that Prue had previously set up Leith's Dining in 1962?

Isabelle Tower graduated with the Leiths Diploma in June 2016. That same summer, she worked with the Leith's Dining team at the renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera. We caught up with her recently to see what it was like to transition from one environment to the other and how the experience has set her up for the future...

Why did you choose to train with Leiths?
Their reputation is one of the best in the industry and the title of a Leiths diploma is envied throughout the food world. 

What did you do before training at Leiths School of Food and Wine?
I was a sixth form student.

What skills could you transfer from your time at Leiths School of Food and Wine into Glyndebourne?
The basic skills we learnt in the school were of the upmost importance, and my ability to complete tasks without having to struggle to understand techniques or do things for the first time made my life far easier.

Can you tell us what an average day looked like working for Leith’s at Glyndebourne?
For me, I would come in in the morning and begin prep for the canapés in the green and red room, the numbers changed but I was making over 100 a day. Once this was finished I would usually begin prepping for staff lunch. After lunch I would often stay in the larder to create the picnics served in the grounds, and then I would join the top kitchen for service, where I would be on the pass plating up a particular main.

How did you find working with the Leith’s Dining team?
The teamwork involved in such a large operation is very important and, at Glyndebourne, this was no different. We all got along so well, which made the work that much more enjoyable, especially when you are all relying on each other so heavily.

What was your favourite Glyndebourne dish from 2016?
I think the mutton dish was the most interesting: Grilled mutton chops, crisp sweet breads, pommes Anna, Savoy cabbage, tenderstem and puréed broccoli.

What did you learn from working at Leith’s Glyndebourne?
Having never worked in the restaurant industry before, Glyndebourne was the perfect start, catering for such large number helped me understand the importance of consistency, working with discipline and the significance of team morale within the kitchen.

What are your 3 tips for anyone wanting to join the catering industry? 

  • Organisation is key
  • Be prepared to learn quickly
  • Work in a disciplined manner and you cannot go wrong

Sum up your Leiths Diploma experience in 5 words…
Best decision I’ve ever made.

After your experiences with Leiths and Leith’s, what are your aspirations for the future?
I am currently cooking in a luxury chalet in the alps, and I hope to work on private yachts this summer.

To learn more about Leith’s Dining, visit the following:
Twitter: @LeithsDining
Facebook: @LeithsDining
Instagram: @LeithsDining

Tickets for Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2017 are now available. To book, click here

Lily Grouse

Author: Lily Grouse

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