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#MadeAtLeiths: Chris Rowley on getting the best of both worlds

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#MadeAtLeiths: Chris Rowley on getting the best of both worlds

As part of our #MadeAtLeiths series, Chris Rowley, Head Chef and owner Ballintaggart, shares his Leiths journey. Starting at his career as Group Brand Manager for Lloyds Bank in the City, living in London and supporting three children, Chris was paying the bills but lacked fulfillment. With the support of his wife Rachel, he took the brave decision to resign and retrain at Leiths.

Chris took the nine month Diploma at Leiths and thanks to his thoughtfully designed, beautifully cooked dishes, he was named Student of the Year.

With a love of food, I wanted a job that fulfilled him. I’ve never been afraid of hard work and I wanted to do something that I was truly passionate about.

In 2016, my wife and I purchased Ballintaggart Farm in the idyllic Perthshire highlands, overlooking the Tay Valley.

With four perfectly formed bedrooms, an exquisite restaurant and a cookery school on site, Ballintaggart has been such a hit with adventurous foodies that myself, wife Rachel and my brother Andrew are already expanding, launching an eight bedroom hotel later this year.

I always dreamed of starting a business like Ballintaggart, but the idea really started to develop and grow legs while I was training at Leiths.

We have an absolutely phenomenal larder up here in the highlands. Most of our ingredients are grown in the kitchen garden, foraged from surrounding hedgerows, fields and woodlands, or sourced from local artisan producers.

With a productive orchard, happy hens and a fantastic team of local suppliers, eating at the farm is a refined, indulgent experience offering the chance to enjoy simple ingredients, cooked with thought and skill.

What Leiths gave me was a really thorough training in modern professional cookery, along with loads of encouragement and inspiration.

If I hadn’t trained at Leiths I’d never be able to create dishes like Scrabster cod with Great Glen venison salami, or Pumpkin and ginger tart with local creme fraiche.

I now have the best of both worlds.

I still use my marketing skills every day, but I get to be far more creative. We are raising the children in a countryside location, yet we’re only a ninety minute drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow and we’re on the main Inverness railway line.

Leiths gave me the skills and knowledge I needed to make this happen for my family.


If you dream of a career in food, come along to our friendly Open Evening on 5th June.

At Leiths, there are dozens of routes to your dream career, from our Recipe Writing classes to Nutrition in Culinary Practice or our full Diploma.

Share your Leiths memories using the #MadeAtLeiths hashtag.

Author: Ailie Bishop


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