Leiths School of food and wine

I wrote the following last year in the midst of my one year professional food and wine diploma. Doing the course was a dream come true for me and I wrote this piece for their blog- it was lovely to re-read and reflect……

‘BL’ (before Leiths) my day used to start at 6.30, no huge difference now, my alarm goes off fifteen minutes earlier, that’s all. Mornings used to be a flurry of school bags, sports kits, searching for lost items of clothing/homework and inevitably leaving the house late with five stressed children, one very stressed mum and a grumpy dad, one or both of us shouting or at the very least muttering under our breaths ‘how many times have we told you to get your stuff ready the night before!’ 

This had been my morning routine for around 14 years so when I began the Leiths diploma course in September I was intrigued to see how things would change. I’m pleased to say that, on the whole, I’ve taken my own advice on board and try to get my stuff ready the night before. I’m lucky to have a hugely supportive husband who very sweetly insists on making me a packed lunch, a portable cup of tea and some kind of breakfast item all of which he tucks into my bag prior to my departure at 6.50. He has taken over the morning routine with the children and, somehow it seems to run so much more smoothly! Maybe we were all ready for a change………

My journey to school everyday goes like this, car, train, tube, bus, walk…. it takes 2.5 hours door to door and if it runs smoothly it gives me time to do my time plans, look ahead to the day in front of me or back on the day I’ve just had, sometimes sleep and emotionally morph from wife and mum to student or vice versa. It’s a great time to reflect and appreciate the Leiths experience which, though exhausting, is, without a doubt the third most amazing thing I’ve ever done (wife and mum still top 2!)

Our days at school vary week by week with cooking and demonstrations either in the mornings or the afternoons depending on if you’re ‘blue or white’. We sometimes have guest demonstrators, butchers, street food specialists, Masters of wine to name but a few. They are always passionate about their field of expertise and this really rubs off on the students, it’s infectious and is something that knits us all together, a common passion for food! We students are a really diverse bunch, ranging hugely in age, background, experience (lawyers, company CEOs, school leavers, stay at home mums/dads ages 18-60+) yet we all muddle along very nicely together, I like to think us older ones are the ‘yin’ to the young ones ‘yang’, we bring experience and calm to the table they bring youthful vibrancy and energy and we all learn something from each other.

Being in the kitchens is, on the whole, putting into practice those things we have seen demonstrated, be it fish filleting, vegetable turning or soufflé making under the watchful eye of our tutors who are, for the most part Leith’s alumni. They’ve been in our place, often worked in the industry and have returned to Leiths to impart some of their wisdom. They guide and advise us day to day, praise our successes, hold our hands through our failures and constantly remind us that we’re here to learn.

I am learning so much every day that sometimes I wonder if there’s anymore room in my little brain! Learning new skills, learning how to juggle like I’ve never juggled before and often dropping a few balls along the way (as well as Tupperware, cups, bags etc – I never knew I was THIS clumsy!) and learning more about myself every day. Every day, however exhausting/stressful/exhilarating it’s been, I remember that I really am ‘living the dream’ and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead…… I am however searching for the ‘pause’ button, I never want this to end and it’s going way too fast! 

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