Writer, restaurateur, cookery expert and judge on the hit BBC TV show Great British Menu, Prue Leith, was nominated for the role of Chancellor given the affinity of her interests and experience with the University’s expertise in food and drink, sustainable business, and creativity and culture, and well as one of its key values of social responsibility.
The new Chancellor has an impressive track record as an entrepreneur having successfully built a business from scratch in the 1960s which grew to become Leith’s Good Food, the party and event caterer.
In 1969, she opened Leith’s, her famous Michelin starred restaurant, and in 1975, 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.
For many, Prue Leith is the epitome of classic cookery experts. With her rich culinary background, she was an obvious choice for the role of judge on the BBC’s Great British Menu.
Echoing Queen Margaret University’s focus on making a real practical difference to people’s lives, Prue has a deep-rooted commitment to social responsibility. As Chair of the RSA, she has been instrumental in founding and running many charities including ‘Focus on Food’, which in partnership with the Soil Association, set up the Food for Life initiative which works in schools focusing on cooking and sustainability.
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
Commenting on her appointment, Prue 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.
“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.”
Professor 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.
“We look forward to her involvement in a variety of university events such as our main graduation ceremonies, Children’s University graduations, and alumni and development events.”
Professor Wend concluded: “Indeed, Prue Leith has achieved so much in her varied career, ever adapting to change and embracing optimism. She is strong, motivated, entrepreneurial and ambitious, and will help Queen Margaret University with our ambitious plans to be known as a ‘university of ideas and influence’.”
Prue will take over the role of Chancellor from entrepreneur, Sir Tom Farmer, who was installed as the University’s founding Chancellor in 2007 when the institution was awarded University title.