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Leiths students take centre stage at Somerset House

Richard Robinson, Head Chef Somerset House
Students from the highly respected Leiths School of Food and Wine put their technical cooking skills into practice at a selection of Somerset House’s on-site restaurants and cafés this April. The initiative is part of a new educational programme designed in conjunction with Leith’s, the specialist heritage caterer and a division of Levy Restaurants UK.

The partnership between the two companies, both of whom were founded by one of the UK’s most influential female chefs, Prue Leith, will seek to place students in kitchens across a range of landmark UK venues, complementing their world class education with first-hand professional experience.

As part of the initiative, three students from the school joined the catering team at Somerset House working in Tom’s Kitchen, Tom’s Deli and Pennethorne’s bar, as well as helping with large scale private events. The students were challenged with the realities of a high pressured environment in a busy kitchen, with varied menus providing them with the opportunity to showcase their range of culinary skills.

The students were responsible for delivering dishes as diverse as roast tenderloin of pork, spring cabbage and roasted heritage carrots and poached Cornish brill pea and mint sauce, with garden herbs and mint oil. Desserts included apricot Bakewell tart and chocolate Millionaire’s Shortbread.

Camilla Schneideman, Managing Director at Leiths School of Food and Wine, comments: “This fantastic partnership allows our students to put their cooking skills to the test in a live service environment, cooking for discerning customers at the historic Somerset House right in the centre of London.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing students come to us as keen home cooks, and leave to launch their own businesses, work as food stylists and writers, and take jobs as chefs at some of the country’s best restaurants.

“This initiative bridges the gap between the Leiths Diploma and the real world of restaurant cookery, and our students have found it hugely inspiring.”

Richard Robinson, Levy Restaurants UK’s head chef at Somerset House added: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to welcome the students from Leiths School of Food and Wine into our kitchens. The level of technical ability and skills they displayed, under the pressure of delivering a service to our customers, was incredibly impressive. All three students have a bright career ahead of them and I’m delighted that we were able to help support their education.”

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