Pippa Denton was a student on our One Month Practical Cookery Certificate Course in May 2012. She wanted to be able to earn money in her university holidays but it led to her deciding that cooking is what she wanted to do full time and she is now working in a game lodge in Zambia. Read her story.
Where did your passion for food start?
I think my passion for food definitely stems from wanting to make delicious and beautiful things for other people. I have a BIG family who all love to eat! Food brings everyone together and some of my favourite memories happened around the dining room table. I always remember being young and sitting on the kitchen counter helping to cook fresh bread as well as baking rice crispy cakes as well as birthday cakes for all my siblings
What encouraged you to undertake professional training?
I had always wanted to go to cooking school, however my parents wanted me to go to university instead, so I thought well maybe I will study to be a teacher as I wasn’t too sure what else I wanted to do. One of my ex-boyfriends after finding this out encouraged me to do the cooking course in order to help me make a bit of money cooking during my summer holidays. However it snow balled from there when I realised my passion for it was genuine and I could actually make a good career out of it.
Why did you choose Edinburgh New Town Cookery School?
Location – Edinburgh is a beautiful city and I had family living nearby. A big decider was also the price, it was much more reasonable than the English cookery schools.
What aspects of cooking inspire you?
Food plays such a big role in everyone’s daily lives; people have to eat so it’s nice to know that you can make that an enjoyable experience. I also love the creativity of it, being able to create your own menus and recipes once you’ve learnt the basics.
The top things you learned whilst at ENTCS that have been most useful?
I did a one month cookery course at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School which taught me the basics, this means I can now I can follow just about any recipe including advanced ones with ease and adapt my skills to different types of cooking.
Basic skills such as knife skills (it makes cooking much easier and quicker when you know how to chop correctly)
It’s much easier to work in a clean and tidy kitchen so clean as you go!
What have you been doing since you left ENTCS?
When I finished the cookery course I was still at university studying to become a primary school teacher, however I worked part time for a catering company and during the summer holidays would take seasonal jobs in the Highlands, South of France, Spain and America. Once I finished studying I ended up getting a job as head chef for a catering company in London which opened doors to some amazing opportunities, such as cooking for the Royal family. I then eventually opened up my own catering company. After a couple of years I was offered an amazing opportunity to be head chef/ food and beverage manager in a 5 star safari lodge in Zambia. (An opportunity that was too good to pass up), and here I am now!
What would you say to someone considering taking a course at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School?
Go for it, once you learn the basics you can cook almost anything. Being a chef can take you to some really amazing places.
What is your advice to newly qualified students?
Work hard and go that extra mile.