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Laoise Casey

Head of Food & Development Chef

London, United Kingdom

@laoisecooks

Graduate of:
Leiths Two Term Diploma in Food and Wine

Bio
Laoise, from Ireland and currently living in London, is working in her dream job as Head of Food for a recipe food app, Plate Up

Life before Leiths
Laoise worked as a HR Manager for ten years, whilst all the time cooking frantically in the evenings and weekends, then she took the plunge to move to London and retrain at Leiths to follow her dream to work in food.  

What inspired you to enrol at Leiths?: 

It was my 2nd career and I wanted to give myself every chance possible to maximise my chances at being successful in it. I wanted a grounding in classical cooking techniques and to make up for lost time! It also allowed me to build up an excellent network.

Life after graduation: 

While studying at Leiths I started working part time in a gastro-pub. I then fell into the world of restaurants which I absolutely loved – it felt like I had finally come home and I thrived on the fast pace and adrenalin of service! I was lucky enough to get an amazing opportunity to work with Robin Gill and worked at his flagship restaurant, The Dairy in Clapham. I learnt so many skills there which I use all the time in my current role of recipe development. Whilst working in restaurants I started exploring food styling and recipe development. I secured a weekly column in the London Evening Standard, The London Lunchbox, where I transformed restaurant dishes into easy lunch ideas. I also wrote a regular cooking essentials column for the Independent. I secured 2 personal face to face interviews with world famous chefs, Alain Ducasse and Michel Roux Jr (I still pinch myself that I got to meet and interview them for The Independent). At the same time I tried to gain as much varied experience as possible, working in pop ups, staging (work experience) in other restaurants. Thanks to my extended network from Leiths I was able to learn about a ton of amazing experiences.   When Nuno Mendes wrote his first book about Portuguese cuisine I became his recipe development and food stylist for his beautiful book, Lisboeta. I had a full circle moment when I launched a series of cookery classes at Leiths, where I taught how to recreate restaurant dishes at home in the school, I was so proud to be back at Leiths as a teacher made the transition full time into recipe development when I landed a Development Chef role in Marks & Spencer. Here I developed delicious recipes for customers and then moved into product development. I now work as the Head of Food for Plate Up. Plate Up is a recipe app which turns recipes into grocery shops. My role truly is my dream job. I spend my days developing recipes which our customers can easily recreate at home to make themselves easy dinners, creating recipe content for our app and social media, immersing myself in food trends and all things food.

Any wise words for future grads?: 

Say yes to every opportunity – the more varied types of work experience in food you can do the better. You can learn something from every single person you work with – since I left Leiths my main learnings have been from the chefs I’ve been lucky enough to work with, you pick up so many skills, hacks and tips from them.

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