Fran Dawe-Lane

Fran Dawe-Lane

Chef & Cookery Teacher

Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine

  • Somerset
  • @frangipane_food


After graduating from Leiths, Fran spent most of 2019 working in restaurants, which included working as a CPD in the pastry section of a Michelin starred restaurant. Fran has also spent time doing catering work, as well as freelancing as a teacher at a local cookery school - she tells us that teaching is something she has always wanted to do.

Life before Leiths

Fran had a successful career in banking and asset management for many years before making the life-changing decision to step away from finance and try something totally different.

“I had always loved food and cooking, and came to the decision (after much research) that the three term diploma course at Leiths would best allow me to see where that passion could lead. I was drawn to Leiths not only by the fact that the course was so comprehensive and well structured, but also by how versatile and marketable the qualification is, based on the varied career paths taken by former alumni - from restaurant chefs to food writers, and everything in-between.”

The biggest challenge you faced coming to Leiths?

“Being back in a 'school' environment so long after I’d left formal education was certainly an interesting experience, but one which really reignited my love of learning. There was certainly a mental challenge involved in studying a completely new subject, as well as the physical demands of being in a kitchen vs. sitting at a desk all day - I absolutely loved it. It was great to meet others who were passionate about food, many of whom had also made the decision to make a big career change, like me.”

What is most fulfilling about your new career in food?

“The fact that I am still learning something new every day - and therefore continuing to grow in terms of my confidence and abilities - is one of the most positive things about what I’m doing now. My time at Leiths really opened my eyes to the possibility of a multi-faceted career in food, and I couldn’t have done it without the solid grounding and opportunities that the school and Leiths List gave me, both during and after the course. The variety keeps me mentally stimulated and constantly challenged - it can be testing at times, but I feel so much more fulfilled in my work and I’m excited for the future.”

What would you say to today’s graduates starting out in the industry?

“Obviously with the issues around COVID-19, hospitality in general is facing an extremely difficult time at the moment. I have however been incredibly impressed at the resilience, determination and ingenuity of so many people in the industry who have shifted their business models and kept going under really difficult circumstances. I think it highlights some of the key skills I believe you need to succeed in the industry - flexibility, imagination, creativity, hard work. I do believe that the food industry will continue to offer good opportunities for Leiths graduates in future, even if things are uncertain in the short-term - as has been brought into sharp relief during the pandemic, enjoying food with friends and family is an integral part of life and will always remain so.”