Prue Leith attends Heritage Dinner in Edinburgh to celebrate 140 years of food innovation at QMU
Cookery expert Prue Leith has attended a dinner at Edinburgh New Town Cookery School in the capital to celebrate 140 years of food innovation at Queen Margaret University.
Prue, who will succeed Sir Tom farmer as Chancellor of QMU, joined members of the university’s Graduates Association and guests for a Heritage Dinner with recipes created by first year hospitality students using original cookbooks from QMU’s early days as Edinburgh School of Cookery, with a modern “fusion” element. The event was also the students’ end of year presentation.
Speaking after the event Prue said: “QMU’s hospitality programmes arm students with an array of industry knowledge, which was evident at tonight’s event. The menu and service were both excellent and a fitting tribute to the university’s achievements in food innovation over the past 140 years. The students were facing a tough audience who know a thing or two about food, and they came up trumps.
“The high standard of food education at QMU makes a valuable contribution to the economy, especially here in Scotland. I’m pleased to be taking on the role of chancellor at a time when the university is planning to build on the research achievements of the Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation by including proposals for a 40,000 sq ft Food Enterprise Centre in plans for Edinburgh Innovation Park on land adjacent to the campus in East Lothian. This can only be good news for Scotland, and for the industry as a whole.”
Supporters of the mid-Victorian women’s movement Louisa Stevenson and Christian Guthrie Wright founded Queen Margaret University in 1875 when they created the Edinburgh School of Cookery at Atholl Crescent in the capital. They campaigned for improved career opportunities for women who were at that point excluded from higher and technical education, with an inevitable consequence being widespread female poverty.
2017 marks the 10th anniversary of QMU receiving full university title and it continues to teach students about food, not only in the hospitality programme but also through programmes in Gastronomy, Dietetics, Nutrition & Food Science.
Notes to Editor
Prue Leith is a writer, restaurateur and cookery expert. She is a judge on the hit TV show ‘Great British Menu’, and this autumn will become host on the Great British Bake Off. She has an impressive track record as an entrepreneur having successfully built a business from scratch in the 1960s which grew to become Leith’s Good Food, the party and event caterer. In 1969, she opened Leith’s, her famous Michelin starred restaurant, and in 1975, founded Leith’s School of Food and Wine which trains professional chefs and amateur cooks. The group reached a turnover of £15m in 1993, when she sold out all but the restaurant, which she went on to sell in 1995.
Her role at Queen Margaret University is essentially a ceremonial one that she will juggle with a busy family life and writing. During the week, Prue mainly works as a novelist. She has recently completed her seventh novel, and in 2012, published her memoir ‘Relish: My Life on a Plate’. She has a rich social life, and at the weekends, enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren at her home in the Cotswolds.
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