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Lois' Story

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Lois' Story

Whilst studying Anthropology at Sussex University I worked front of house at a restaurant on Brighton seafront. The venue was host to regular supper clubs and pop ups, and I was exposed to amazing food and truly passionate people. The whole experience opened up so many opportunities for me from Street Food to food styling, and ignited a love for the food world that I was now desperate to be a part of. I dedicated my final year of university to working in food as much as possible, and even wrote my dissertation about the social and cultural implications of food. 

 
I knew I needed to understand the fundamentals of cooking and gain practical experience but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. One of the supper clubs I helped out at was hosted by Alice Hart and Georgina Fuggle, both Leiths graduates and extremely accomplished food stylists and writers. They met at Leiths and both couldn’t recommend the teaching and experience more.
 
Whilst researching the options available, Leiths seemed to have the broadest syllabus; rooted in classic cooking and covering the basics but with elements of food styling, running a food business, catering and a diverse range of cuisines. It seemed a more realistic reflection of the food industry backed up by Leiths List which has provided me with some amazing work experience and temporary catering jobs.

“The sooner you enrol the better”

After graduating I worked in the Leiths development kitchen researching food trends and presenting concepts. It is so important to have the theoretical culinary knowledge that Leiths provides. It means you can be confident pushing boundaries, knowing that the basic recipe will work! This was my absolute dream job, the perfect combination of cooking, creativity and research.

I’ve since moved on to become part of the Home Economist team at Kenwood. I spend my days testing the performance of products. This includes anything from kitchen machines to food processors – it could be new prototypes or our existing range – making sure our machines give the best possible results.

Recipe development is closely linked with the role, whether that’s creating recipes based on current food trends or working with markets across the world to make sure localised recipes work in our machines.

The role of the Home Economics team is diverse; we interact with most departments across the business and get involved in the whole product design cycle from ideation to production – I can’t say any more than that because a lot of our projects are top secret!
 
As well as my ‘day’ job I have made my street food dreams a reality and opened my own stall - Phyllis & Fred - named after my great grandparents. I spent a long time daydreaming about it until I finally decided to bite the bullet and book my pitch. The next five months were spent in a mild panic as it dawned on me that this was the first time the logistics, prep and cooking were all down to me.

But Leiths had given me the foundations I needed to go out on my own; all the exercises and group tasks throughout the term build you up to these moments – not that you realise it at the time! We covered food hygiene, costing, organisation and coping with pressure.
 
I had zero cooking ability before I went to Leiths so the training for me was the steepest learning curve you could possibly imagine. The balance of theory and practical sessions really helped to cement what I was learning and the structure of the course allowed me to re-visit I needed to practice.

Learning about food hygiene, costing, time management and tips and tricks from the teachers along the way have proved invaluable, and the Diploma has given me the confidence to go out and do my own thing, which seemed impossible on day one of the first term!

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