Rukmini Iyer, former student on Three Month Intermediate Certificate Course and MasterChef contestant 2013.
Originally from Cambridgeshire, Rukmini studied English Literature at Edinburgh University and went to law school in London. After two years working as a trainee solicitor, she realised that cooking was her real passion and decided to pursue a career doing what she loved.
“I’ve always loved cooking. As we were growing up, my mum encouraged my sister and I to cook and to help her in the kitchen. She would always let us have fun, encouraging our creativity and letting us try the things we wanted – even if they didn’t always work out!
“I started to feel frustrated on my traineeship as a solicitor. I set up my own blog, began photographing recipes and dishes I tried and I suddenly realised I was enjoying it so much more. I applied for Masterchef not really thinking anything would come of it. I almost forgot about it but decided I wanted to enrol in a professional cooking course. We’d heard great things about The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School and Principal Fiona Burrell’s experience and expertise gained from Leiths of London. I was also attracted by their level of professional courses which I felt would stand me in good stead for a career.
“After I’d signed up, the call from Masterchef came so I had to put my studies on hold but it was a fantastic experience. It was an exciting although sometimes scary time, but it proved to me this was what I loved and wanted to make my full-time job.
Although I learned so much during MasterChef, I subsequently gained a huge amount of knowledge from my time at The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School. I learned what it’s really like to work in a professional kitchen, and gained a lot from collaborating and working with fellow students.
The highlight of the course for me was getting a thorough grounding in classical techniques; sauces, meat, fish, and of course patisserie.
“I found it a great confidence boost to have the teachers there to guide me through the more difficult techniques, and answer my endless questions about why things work in the kitchen and why things don’t. Learning from them was incredibly valuable, and a very nice change to just learning from cookbooks and YouTube videos. And after the course finished, I was given lots of help on my new CV by Tor, senior teacher at the cookery school, which was incredibly helpful for a career changer looking to get a job as a chef.”