Explore Leiths Diploma Open House – 5th June 2024


Alice Power

Head Chef of The Black Swan at Oldstead

United Kingdom


Graduate of:
Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine

Alice is Head Chef for the Black Swan at Oldstead – Tommy Banks’ 1 Michelin and Green Star fine dining restaurant in the North York Moors. The restaurant is supplied by a sustainably managed kitchen garden and the Bank’s family farm; foraged ingredients from the surrounding area; and a range of like-minded local suppliers. Alice began her time at the restaurant as a Chef de Partie and has progressed to Head Chef, working closely with Executive Chef Callum Leslie.

Life before Leiths
Despite a lifelong passion for food and cooking, I’d never considered a career in food. Like many, I chose academic subjects I was interested in, hoping a career might reveal itself. After studying History of Art at the University of Leeds, I joined the Civil Service with the faint idea I might end up working on food policy one day. Five years later, during a career break to consider my next steps, I enrolled at Leiths.

What inspired you to enrol at Leiths?: 

With the rare opportunity to step back from a normal 9-5, I decided to explore my own passion for food. The best-case scenario was that it might reveal a career I’d never considered, and at worst it would be a very extravagant gift to myself. Leiths stood out to me because of its reputation for providing a strong grounding in technique and how it embraced the variety of potential jobs in the industry.

Life after graduation: 

I took advantage of every type of work experience I could whilst on the course – and to my surprise my head was turned by restaurant cooking. I joined the team at Carousel, supporting an ever-changing array of international guest chefs – the perfect place to cut my teeth. In time, I relocated to North Yorkshire and joined Tommy’s team building on the connections I made as a stagier.

Any wise words for future grads?: 

Explore any and every type of work experience you can – the food industry is vast and diverse – you might be surprised at what you end up drawn to. And if you’re a career changer – your grounding in theory and technique will be invaluable, but remember you also bring other skills from your previous job that could set you apart.

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