Moreton Hall’s Leiths Cookery School students were in the audience this week when not one but two top chefs and cookery writers came to town! Octogenarian Prue Leith’s career has seen her shape how we eat and think about food. Founder of the Leiths School of Food and Wine, she has worked as a caterer, restaurateur, teacher, TV cook, food journalist, novelist and cookery book author. She has been a leading figure in campaigns to improve food in schools and hospitals and she’s probably best known now as a judge on the nation’s favourite TV programme: The Great British Bake Off! Prue is also an aunt to Peta Leith, a professional pastry chef and food writer who trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York and spent seven years as a pastry chef at The Ivy. Now in a joint venture, Prue and Peta have pooled their passion for food to produce a cookbook. ‘The Vegetarian Kitchen’ and their Booka bookshop hosted event at Oswestry’s Wynnstay Hotel was to talk about this new collaboration.
In conversation with Moreton Hall’s Caroline Lang, Prue and Peta revealed how a planned book on cakes and pastries evolved into a vegetarian cookery book (although still with plenty of cakes and pastries too) They discussed the rise of vegetarianism and how our interest in food from around the globe means that vegetarian food need never be dull. In a lively question and answer session and in response to a question from Leiths student, Charlotte Rollason, Prue talked about ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and how she had felt stepping into Mary Berry’s shoes. She also revealed which recipes from the new book she will be cooking for Sandi Tosvig when she comes to visit!
After the talk there was a chance for the girls to meet Prue and Peta for a photo and the Leiths girls also took the opportunity to have their Leiths Food and Drink books, their cookery bible, signed by the great lady herself.
Leiths student Tilly Prytherch said “It was great to hear the different recipe ideas” and Eloise Roberts described it as “An unforgettable experience”. Caroline Lang commented that “For all of us gathered in the Wynnstay for this Booka Bookshop event, this was the ultimate foodie treat. Two truly inspiring women talking about their passion for food and then the opportunity to go home and try out some of the mouth-watering recipes for ourselves”.