Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Celebrity chef becomes Queen Margaret University chancellor

Prue Leith Image copyright Queen Margaret University

A celebrity chef has been appointed as the new chancellor of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

Prue Leith is a writer, restaurateur, cookery expert and judge on the BBC TV show Great British Menu.

She succeeds Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Farmer.

The new chancellor built a business from scratch in the 1960s which grew to become the event caterer Leith's Good Food. In 1969, she opened Leith's, her Michelin starred restaurant.

In 1975, Ms Leith founded Leith's School of Food and Wine which trains professional chefs and amateur cooks.

The group reached a turnover of £15m in 1993, when she sold out all but the restaurant, which she went on to sell in 1995.

Urban poor

Ms Leith said: " Following the wonderful Tom Farmer will not be easy, but I look forward to it.

"I much admire the way QMU has consistently regarded food, nutrition and health as practical and socially important (as well as academic) subjects.

"And I love the enthusiasm and can-do attitude of students. So I know it will be interesting and fun. And I hope I will be useful."

Prof Petra Wend, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen Margaret University, said: "Prue Leith's career and background resonates deeply with the values and ethos of Queen Margaret University, as well as with our flagships in health and rehabilitation, creativity and culture, and sustainable business.

"She is a highly respected public figure who has strong beliefs about the importance of education and in its transformational importance to society.

"Much of her life's work has been in food and drink, in which she has shown significant entrepreneurial qualities, but she has also worked hard to help develop and highlight the UK's culinary talent, the importance of good healthy food for all, and to tackle inequalities.

"She is therefore an excellent fit for our work in food and drink, which dates back to our inception in 1875 when we were established to help improve the diet of the urban poor."

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