East Sussex, United Kingdom
Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine
Camilla’s lifelong passion for food, and all the creativity that comes with it, has led her to pursue her aspirations as a chef at 1 Michelin-starred Gravetye Manor nestled in the beautiful East Sussex countryside. With its own historic kitchen garden and sustainable local produce to hand, Camilla is in her element and after one year is already managing other chefs while running one of the three main sections in the kitchen. On her days off she keeps herself busy running her own private dinners and events in the Kent and Sussex areas.
Life before Leiths
Despite Camilla’s enthusiasm for food, the first steps along her career path took place in the finance world. Following the completion of her Chemistry degree at Durham University, she went on to qualify as an accountant before remaining in the industry for eight years. Her love of food, however, was never far from her thoughts, and she found herself gravitating towards financial roles within restaurants and hospitality. While working, she explains “I spent any spare moment in the day thinking, reading or talking about food and waiting for the absolute highlight of my day when I got home and began cooking. It got to a point where there was no other option than to make food my career!”
What inspired you to enrol at Leiths?
“I was always aware of the amazing reputation that Leiths has and I wanted the best possible chance of succeeding in the food world. I was drawn to the fact that Leiths combines both the learning of essential culinary techniques and more current approaches which is very unique.” Looking back upon the course, Camilla says “there were so many amazing experiences during my year at Leiths but winning the Louis Latour Wine Student of the Year was an incredible honour and one that I am very proud of.”
Life after graduation
Once her diploma had come to an end, Camilla was delighted to secure a stage at 3 Michelin-starred Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian where she was later titled a ‘natural chef’ by Elena Arzak herself – a momentous career highlight for her. The significant career change is something Camilla speaks enthusiastically of, quoting that “the increased complexity of my new commute is considerable and yet my heart is lighter than the chocolate mousse we made in week four”! She’s taking particular enjoyment from learning something new every day, whether that’s an unfamiliar ingredient, recipe or technique. “It’s amazing to be able to work closely with such talented people and it’s great to be able to work directly with the Head Chef developing new recipes and ideas for the menus.”
Any wise words for future grads?
“So many business practices and operations have been re-imagined due to COVID and this has provided a whole range of new opportunities and trends in the market. I would urge Leiths graduates to be open to these new ideas and new ways of doing things and not to be strictly confined to previous ideas of how they thought or hoped their career paths may be.”