Explore Leiths Diploma Open House – 5th June 2024


Alumni Stories: Helena Busiakiewicz

Leiths Diploma graduate Helena Busiakiewicz is food content creator for BBC Good Food, an action-packed role that involves recipe development and content creation for BBC Good Food’s website, TikTok, Instagram, print magazine, and sister title Olive. You can follow Helena at @helz__kitchen and see her work for BBC Good Food at @bbcgoodfood.

What were you doing before you came to Leiths?

“I went to the University of Leeds and did an English lit degree which I loved, but throughout my uni career, food just seemed to call me. My dad was a huge foodie and really encouraged my love especially of Italian cuisine and I was lucky enough to be taken to some beautiful restaurants. But also, in the same vein, my early memories are of loving Heinz tomato soup with loads of grated cheese with my mum. It definitely gave me an appreciation of all different kinds of foods. As I was coming to the end of my degree, I was thinking what am I going to do? I’m going to have to go out into the world and make something of myself. So I started thinking about how I could make the English lit and the food thing really work together.

I kind of stumbled upon Leiths; it was almost like this eureka moment, especially because I was meant to be going on a round-the-world trip that Covid cancelled. I’d been working front of house and had saved all this money to go travelling with so I basically put all of that into Leiths. I did my interview and never looked back.”

How was your Diploma experience?

“I had the best year. I worked really hard. I learned a heck of a lot. I made some fabulous friends. I was lucky to do some really cool work experience, doing some recipe development at All Plants, which is how I got the idea that this corner of the food industry might work for me. When I finished Leiths, I worked five days a week in a restaurant then on days off I would go and work with the charity Food Behind Bars [whose Head of Food Education is another Leiths grad, Natalia Middleton]. I had a great time with them and still go and volunteer wherever I can. I believe food is for everyone so it was nice to be able to put my money where my mouth is, as with BBC Good Food which is a food resource for a lot of people. It’s a big part of what is good about the industry.”

How did you get the job at BBC Good Food?

“I was doing a little bit of freelancing and worked on the BBC Good Food Festival as part of the home ec team which is where I met Barney Desmazery, the Skills and Shows Editor here. When it came to applying for the Good Food job, I think that stood me in good stead as they’d seen that I was at least somewhat capable. It’s coming up to two years now and I’ve had the most fabulous time. The’re all really willing to teach and mentor which has been amazing. I get to do a lot of their content creation and recipe development and I had my first Good Food cover and my first Olive cover. Every time something like that happens, I think ‘Wow, if you think about that girl who sat in a Leiths demonstration room, would she have ever believed she’d ever have got an Olive cover or a BBC Good Food cover?’ It’s a humbling thought for sure.”

What does your role at BBC Good Food involve?

“It’s kind of half recipe development and half content creation. I’m doing the BBC Good Food TikTok, a lot of content for Instagram and we do a lot of SEO video and internal projects. Even in the short time that I’ve been here, the emphasis on video and eating with the eyes has grown so massively. Content creation used to be a little bit mysterious and people didn’t really understand it but now anyone with a tripod and an iPhone can give it a go which is such a great thing because it means we’re opening the doors to so many different food cultures. It’s definitely been a learning curve and one I’m still mastering every day.

Do the skills you acquired at Leiths come in handy?

“Primarily my job means I have to be a really great cook and Leiths made me a really great cook. It was very disciplined and gave you a sense of structure and rigidity and being very specific which helps when you’re developing and testing recipes because you need to make them replicable for people at home. You have to measure everything to the nth degree, check how long that’s going to take, know when your chicken will release from the pan, know if the cake collapses why the cake collapses. Leiths gave me that.

Do you have any future plans or goals?

“I’d love to write a cookbook, there’s the goal. For now I want to just be a big part of the team in Good Food and Olive and continue enjoying my time here.”


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