Prue Leith now a successful novelist started her career in 1960, cooking lunches for directors’ dining rooms. This grew into Leith’s Good Food Limited, with contracts for such venues as the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, The Edinburgh International Conference Centre, and the Orient Express Train. By 1995 when the business was sold Leith’s employed over 500 staff and had a turn-over of £15 million.
In 1969 Prue opened Leith’s restaurant in Notting Hill, which won a Michelin star. In 1975 she founded Leith’s School of Food and Wine which trains about 200 cooks and chefs per annum. She sold both businesses in the late ‘90’s.
Meanwhile she kept writing. She has been a columnist for the Daily Mail, Sunday Express, the Guardian and the Daily Mirror. She was the subject of two T.V. documentaries and has appeared in and presented many TV programs and is currently a judge on the Great British Menu series. She has written 12 cookbooks and six novels, Leaving Patrick and Sisters, published by Penguin; Choral Society, A Serving of Scandal and The Gardener published by Quercus. Her most recent book, The Food of Love: Laura’s Story (Quercus) is the first of a trilogy of novels, with the development of food from wartime rationing to organics and telly chefs as the background to a family saga of the ups and downs of love and ambition.
Prue has also written her memoirs - Relish: My Life on a Plate, published by Quercus.
Prue’s success as a businesswoman led to her appointment to the board of many top companies such as British Rail, Safeway plc, Halifax plc, Whitbread plc, Woolworths Group plc, Omega International plc and Belmond Hotels. She has also been the chair of several societies and organisations such as Royal Society of Arts, Ashridge Management College, the Restaurateurs Association of Great Britain and of 3E’s Ltd which was the first company to be awarded contracts to ‘turn round’ and run state schools and set up City Academies. She is a former member of Food from Britain, the National Training Task Force and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications.
She has also been involved in several important charities, notably as Chair of the School Food Trust, tasked with making school meals healthy and attractive to children, and with promoting British food, training disadvantaged young people for the restaurant industry and with the promotion of sustainable living. There is a Prue Leith Chefs Academy in South Africa.
She has received many honours, most notably her CBE in 2010, the Veuve Clicquot Business-Woman of the Year in 1990, and 13 honorary degrees or Fellowships from UK Universities.