Explore Leiths Diploma Open House – 5th June 2024


Katja Tausig

Development Chef & Food Writer - Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

London, United Kingdom


Graduate of:
Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine

Katja is a chef, consultant, recipe developer and beekeeper. She is currently working at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen where she develops recipes for the Ottolenghi restaurants and delis, editorial (Guardian and New York Times), and social media channels (Instagram, YouTube and TikTok). She has consulted on both recipe development and strategy within the industry for restaurants such as Wild by Tart and Toklas. Katja keeps bees at Namayasai Farm in Lewes where she currently has 8 hives and sells her honey at Koya Ko in Broadway market. 

Life before Leiths
Katja did the Leiths Diploma immediately after graduating from university and has been working in food ever since.

What inspired you to enrol at Leiths?: 

After graduating from university I knew I wanted to work in something to do with food. I set up a food blog (RIP if hips could lie), applied to some food related graduate schemes, and set up a week’s work experience at Waitrose Food magazine. Luckily (and unsurprisingly) the grad schemes were a non-starter, but I absolutely loved working at Waitrose Food Magazine and I was advised if I was really serious about getting into food to do the Leiths Diploma by the editor. 

Life after graduation: 

Leiths really opened my eyes into how much I had to learn before diving into food writing. I felt I had a really great foundation, but wanted to put everything I had learnt into practise through cheffing in a professional kitchen. Leiths List set me up with a job at Trullo, and I worked there for a year. It was an incredible place to learn, not only their repertoire, but being tasked with making staff food for 20 hungry discerning colleagues quickly taught me to think on my feet and get creative with whatever ingredients were in front of me. I then went to Koya Soho where I worked my way up to head chef, and to 40 Maltby Street where I worked for a year as a sous. When not in restaurants I spent holidays and time off cooking on boats for the Sailing Collective, and doing collaborative events and chef residencies abroad, most notably at the Food Hub Project in Kamiyama, Japan. After all this, an industry friend put my name forward for a job at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen. I hadn’t given much thought to my original dream of becoming a food writer in my 10 years of cheffing, but quickly jumped at the opportunityI have landed in a place where I learn from my colleagues every day, and for that I am extremely lucky. 

Any wise words for future grads?: 

The food world has changed so much since I did Leiths, and I imagine the overwhelm of food content and creators on social media can feel daunting when trying to carve out a career. However, focusing on knowledge, identifying areas for improvement and learning as much as you can, be it in courses, books, or through working in professional kitchens, will put you in a great position to work towards your goals. You already have a brilliant foundation, authenticity shines through in the end! 

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