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Faculty: STEM
Practical skills Healthy eating Leiths


“Before I learned to cook I opened the kitchen cupboard and saw meaningless ingredients, now I see food……”

Prue Leith

Food and Nutrition

The Cookery Department endeavours to provide a stimulating, exciting, caring and positive environment in which students learn and grow into proficient and confident cooks. Working with food allows them to learn how to cook and to understand and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Students execute a wide range of food preparation and cooking skills and techniques, which develop in complexity over time. Instilling a love of cooking in the girls allows them to be innovative and explore their creativity. Learning to cook is a crucial life skill that enables students to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.

Key Stage 3

In Form I, Food and Nutrition is taught to all the girls throughout the year and then in Forms II and III as part of the creative carousel.

During these years students learn to:

  • understand and apply the basic principles of nutrition with an introduction to some special dietary needs
  • cook a repertoire of sweet and predominantly savoury dishes to enable them to follow a healthy, balanced and varied diet
  • become competent in a range of cooking methods and techniques such as weighing, measuring and preparing ingredients, knife skills, using utensils and electrical equipment and applying heat in different ways
  • develop an awareness of taste, texture and smell to decide how to season dishes and combine ingredients
  • understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a wide range of ingredients
  • work safely and follow good hygiene practices
  • develop good organisational skills and the efficient use of time
  • work independently from recipe sheets
  • adapt and develop recipes that encourage their imagination, originality and creativity

Leiths Certificate in Food and Wine

Leiths School of Food and Wine is one of the most prestigious and respected cookery schools in the country.  We are delighted to be able to offer to our VIth Form students the opportunity to study the Leiths Introductory Certificate in Food and Wine.  This five term course is designed for the interested amateur cook and the potential professional chef.  Students are shown a wide range of professional practical cooking methods and taught the associated theory.  The primary aim is to provide them with a vital life skill for independent living which could also open up areas of possible employment.  Students gain the confidence to become proficient in family cooking and entertaining, learn to interpret and follow recipes, manage time efficiently and work in an organised manner.

Students are encouraged to cook and experience a range of ingredients and explore different cooking techniques to produce dishes that have a modern twist.  The principal techniques and methods covered include knife skills, meat and vegetable preparation, jointing poultry, filleting fish, roasting, stewing, marinating, steaming, batters, the making of classic sauces, pasta and rice dishes, the use of gelatine, caramel, mousses, ice creams, meringues, tarts, bread, various pastries and cakes as well as decorating and icing skills.  In addition, students complete a menu planning exercise, follow healthy eating guidelines, develop an awareness of what to look for when buying ingredients and learn the basic theoretical principles associated with the cooking techniques.

At the end of the course, the students take a practical and theory examination set by Leiths and successful candidates are awarded a graded Leiths Certificate in Food and Wine.  Students also complete a Level 2 Food Safety Award which along with the Certificate can be used to find employment in a variety of family level cooking jobs, through the agency, ‘Leiths List’.  Should they decide to take up cooking professionally they would be eligible for the Two Term Diploma at Leiths School of Food and Wine which could open doors to a wide range of opportunities within the industry.

Extra-Curricular Activity

Tasting and Pairing Wine with Food

The UVIth Leiths students spend time with a Master of Wine, tasting various wines and learning how to select the most appropriate ones to complement different ingredients and dishes.  They learn how wine is made and what factors determine styles and characteristics.  The students are shown how to interpret the information on the bottle label and how to store and serve wine at its best.  Foods representing the core tasting elements such as saltiness, sweetness, acidity and bitterness are paired in complementary and contrasting ways with various wines.  This experience develops their appreciation of wine styles and qualities, which could prove useful in any dining situation.