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Essentials Cooking Stories: Dominique Woolf and Justin Lande

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Essentials Cooking Stories: Dominique Woolf and Justin Lande

Leiths’ Essential Cooking Certificate is designed to suit both aspiring professional chefs as well as keen amateurs. Two recent students – current home cook student Justin Lande and Dominique Woolf, owner of The Woolf’s Kitchen and winner of Channel 4’s The Great Cookbook Challenge – share what the course has meant to them.


“I had spent years watching James Martin, Raymond Blanc and many other chefs on TV. I knew I had the passion, but could not convert that passion into good food. I chose the Essential Cooking Certificate course because it offered me something more than just a social evening cookery course. The course is taught in the same way as the full-time Diploma course and demands your time and effort to meet the requirements. Real skills are taught and learned, applicable in the home or professional setting. It is a real qualification and the springboard to something more. For me, the course was also an opportunity to gain a skill, to meet people, and do something different.”

“I regularly practise my skills at home preparing different, tasty, and properly cooked meals for my three daughters. We have enjoyed making many of the dishes, using the skills and techniques learned at Leiths. I hope I am passing on the skills I have learned at Leiths.”

“I have realised that professional cooking is much more technical than I had imagined. It is not just about having a book of recipes. Recipes come to life when you have the professional skills to prepare them. I feel more confident now to take on recipes that were beyond me before.”

“It is a challenge to attend at Leiths – a positive challenge. Leiths has a wonderful culture where everyone I met has a smile on their face and is committed to helping students. The support level is high in practical classes, in the feedback given, and in online learning.”

Dominique Woolf

“I decided to make a career change into food so I wanted to do a professional course. After much research, I came across Leiths Essentials course. I was really impressed by all the elements that were covered and thought it would give me a great foundation. I also liked the fact it was in the evenings which meant I could fit it around work and family.”

“When I’m testing recipes, I frequently draw on my experience from the course and it has definitely made me a better recipe writer and tester. The attention to detail, the organisation. Even little things like having a container on the work surface for food waste has helped me streamline my cooking process. Time plans are one of the most useful things I picked up, as well as the importance of doing your mise-en-place. Not forgetting knife skills of course.”

“The course gave me a rounded understanding of the basics of cooking and instilled in me a strong kitchen work ethic – really important if working with a client or in a different kitchen. Leiths is well known and respected in the industry and it has been a huge positive having it on my CV. I also met lots of fantastic people who I am still in touch with.”

Author: Hilary Armstrong


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