London, United Kingdom
Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine
Flo Cornish currently works as Menu Development Chef for UK and Ireland for Hilton Hotels, where she creates and rolls our their central menus, looking after 26 hotels across the country. She previously worked as Senior Development Chef at the vegan meal delivery service, allplants. Since graduating from Leiths, she has also worked for London catering company Ginger Jar, headed up pastry at Ballintaggart Farm in Scotland, and written the cookbook ‘Made in the USA: Classic and Contemporary American Recipes from Coast to Coast.’
Life before Leiths
Flo graduated from a degree in History and History Ideas from Goldsmiths, before taking a year out to work and travel. During this period, Flo entered a competition with River Cottage through which she won the title of the River Cottage Rising Star award for aspiring chefs. As one of the finalists, she got to go down to River Cottage which cemented her dream of pursuing chef training. Having spent some of her younger years interning and assistant styling for various fashion magazines, Flo soon realised that the fashion industry was not for her.
What attracted you to Leiths?
“The unique, and most valuable thing about Leiths, is its blending of classic training with modern sensibilities. You will gain a broad and extensive culinary knowledge, and also an understanding of how to use those to forge a career. This focus on the industry and employability side of things really drew me in – it seemed to be such a switched-on place to train. You can see this in the running of Leiths List, the job adverts posted around the school and the classes on running a food business.”
What do you love most about your job today and what are the challenges?
“I would say the biggest challenge is meeting the balance between consistent quality, chef skill and innovative but also widely appealing dishes. It’s a constant balancing act!”
Are you still connected with other chefs from Leiths?
“Massively. I always think of the Leiths alumni network as being 50% of the pull to the school. The calibre of chefs who come out of there is astounding and they enter such a breadth of fields, you will always be connected to someone who trained at Leiths. And in addition to that, I made some of my most amazing friends there which is hugely valuable to me.”
Any advice for future grads?
“I do think that you have a real skill that most other professionals don’t, and that’s adaptability. Chefs – good chefs – are always thinking on their feet and able to adapt and work with the situation they find themselves in. Be that a supplier not sending you the right ingredient, or a piece of equipment not working, or a global pandemic! You are really skilled in that area in a way that a lot of other careers aren’t. I would use that to your greatest advantage.”