Friday, 4 July 2014

Life at Leiths: Looking Back

I started the year long Professional Diploma at Leiths School of Food and Wine back in October 2013. On my first day the teachers told us that there would be tears on our last day. Sitting there, feeling intimidated and nervous, this was hard to imagine. Was choosing to spend a year learning to cook the right decision? Would I be good enough? But sure enough, 9 months later, the thought of leaving the Leiths bubble is pretty emotional. Mountains of culinary knowledge aside, here are just a few of the lessons I learnt and the advice I'd give to anyone embarking on their own Leiths adventure...
                     My first ever dish at Leiths, day 1: hummus and crudites
  Don't be terrified on the first day, when you are taught how to chop and you instantly feel you know NOTHING. You will be fine.
  By midway through the first term, you might not iron your whites anymore. That's ok.
  For the first few weeks of the first term, you will be ridiculously exhausted. Then your stamina builds up and you're no longer crashed out by 8pm!
  Sometimes a teacher actually is giving you a death stare. Most of the time, they're just thinking about getting through a day of tasting 32 lemon meringue pies.
  Lavelli does the best coffee, Bridge That Gap does the cheapest sandwiches and The Ginger Pig is best for meat feast days. Tesco is marginally closer than Sainsbury’s. Lunch is a big priority at cookery school.
  Salt and butter are your new best friends.
  Enjoy the only time that reading Nigella or watching Bake Off can count as studying.
  Learn to ignore the confused stares of other public transport passengers when they can smell a Thai marinaded mackerel or golden syrup steamed pudding on their journey home. They'll be used to it (and you) by the end of the year. 
  Try everything. 
  Don't be alarmed when you become perfectly accustomed to eating 5 different souffl├ęs in a morning demonstration, a two course lunch cooked by the other class, a causal 4pm snack of veal steak and potato rosti... and then dinner as usual. 
  It's ok to spend the day learning to cook fabulous things and then have fish fingers for tea. 
  Sometimes you'll wind up having deep fried brains for breakfast. Sometimes you'll have tried 6 different glasses of champagne before midday. Relish being part of a world where this is acceptable. 
  Absorb every piece of advice, hint, tip and suggestion teachers give you. 
  Leiths is a bubble and sometimes a slightly dodgy espagnole sauce feels like the end of the world. It's times like these that it is important to step back into the real world and remember that 6 months previously you didn’t even know what an espagnole was and you survived.  
  Blog it! I love being able to read back through my blog and remember all the food, the laughs and the ups and downs I’ve had this year. Also on a selfish note I’m going to really miss Leiths and I want to read enviously about all the new adventures next years lucky 96 students are having. 
 Be prepared for a roller coaster. It's going to be the best year ever.
My last dish at Leiths – creative rabbit: braised rabbit and pancetta pie, Parma ham wrapped rabbit loin, baby carrots, potato puree, red wine jus and microherbs.


La Table De Nana said...

Ahh.. I loved this..I remember you mentioned about being on a trolley and the smell of what you were bringing home:)
I enjoyed every single post you brilliant girl.
I agree it is nice to look at our blogs as journals.
Bravo again!

Fussylady said...

Oh, I am bereft that it is the end of your course. I have loved following your Leith's adventures. Your food photos have been fabulous too. I hope you'll continue writing about cakes and maybe add a little bit of cookery?

Thank you and congratulations.

Maggie said...

Great post Lucy. I couldn't stomach deep fried brains for breakfast, I'm too old for that!!! Fish fingers for tea after all the rich food sounds wonderful. How the teachers suffer having to taste all of those lemon meringue pies......
What will you do now without Leith's?

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It sounds like a lot of fun! I'm glad to hear that you love studying there.



June Burns said...

Love this post. It sounds like an amazing experience. Your dish looks great too! :)

Karen @ Lemon Grove Cake Diaries said...

Awesome post Lucy. It is always amazing to look back at the first and last thing you made at school. The very first thing we made at pastry school were sandwiches :)

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What a great post full of helpful and witty tips Lucy- I particularly enjoyed the lunch advice tip. I've an enthusiasts course coming up and will bear your advice in mind!

The Caked Crusader said...

I've always viewed salt and butter as my friends!!!!!