#MadeAtLeiths: Will Verdino on doing it for the right reasons

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#MadeAtLeiths: Will Verdino on doing it for the right reasons

As part of our #MadeAtLeiths series, former chef at St John Restaurant and now based in north Scotland at the award-winning restaurant Inver Restaurant, Will Verdino shares his Leiths journey.

I worked front of house for 10 years previous to studying at Leiths School of Food and Wine, with my last job being a bar manager in an apres ski bar in Meribel, France.

Having grown up around food, being a keen and confident home cook as well as having the ambition to eventually have my own place, I decided it would be vital to know how to cook professionally.

I had been recommended Leiths by a friend and had researched other cookery schools but as soon as I walked in the doors for my interview, I knew it was where I wanted to be. The friendly welcome, fun atmosphere and great facilities made my mind up for me and I completed the 2016/17 Leiths diploma.

I always knew it was restaurant work I wanted to be involved in but, through work experience and other opportunities, Leiths broadened my horizons & made me realise that there were different career paths I could take.

Leith’s far exceeded expectations, the huge range of skills covered, the networking and the great friends I’ve made have given me the platform and confidence to work in top restaurants and eventually achieve the dream of my own place.

It’s funny now how certain simple tasks seemed like mountains to climb at the time and are now second nature through practice.

From the friendly staff, huge range of skills covered and the expert tuition, to the amazing friends made and the camaraderie had, it was all a blast.

Having spent some time in London at St. John Restaurant, Smithfields, I moved up north to Scotland and am cooking at the amazing Inver Restaurant. I came across Inver through social media and have loved every second of being here. My job is made special by the brilliant team, the phenomenal produce we have the pleasure to cook and the most incredible location on Loch Fyne.

Unusual food and flavour combinations excite me. There are so many exciting ingredients beyond your everyday meats, spices and veg, you just need to open your mind to them. The chefs I have been most inspired by are the ones I have had the pleasure to work alongside at St. John and Inver, who without, I wouldn’t be the chef I am today. Beyond that, I am a huge fan of Nathan Outlaw, his style and his humble approach.

I love the creativity and different styles within the food industry. You can go to a fine dining restaurant and have an amazing meal or you can go to an everyday restaurant and have a meal that reaches the same heights for different reasons. As a chef working in a professional kitchen it can be stressful at times but if you have the right attitude, the right employers and the right people alongside you, it can be one of the most fun and rewarding jobs around.

For those starting out or thinking about changing into a career in food, make sure it’s what you want to do and the, do it for the right reasons. It’s seen as quite a ‘cool’ trade to be in these days but it’s not easy, can be very stressful and takes a certain mind and work ethic to succeed. With that said, if you’re suited to it, what an incredible career path to take.


If you dream of a career in food, come along to our friendly Open Evening on 5th June.

At Leiths, there are dozens of routes to your dream career, from our Essential Cooking Certificate: Evening course to our Recipe Writing classes to Nutrition in Culinary Practice or our full Diploma.

Share your Leiths memories using the #MadeAtLeiths hashtag.

Author: Pamela Daniels


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