Cooking Up a Career Doesn’t Need University

Trainee chefs learning how to cook at Edinburgh New Town Cookery School

Edinburgh New Town Cookery School (ENTCS) has today launched its prospectus for students who, after receiving their results, are looking for a different option to university.

With the rise in interest in food careers, courses at ENTCS can take students from novice to professional chef in as little as six months.

Principal, Fiona Burrell comments:  “Results can be a shock to the system.  But not everyone has to go to university and it is not the only way to forge a successful career.  Many students have come to us as an alternative to university and in as little as three or six months we have prepared them for a career in the food industry and they are set up for life.

Many ENTCS graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers and quickly find work with prestigious restaurants and catering companies; or use the skills they’ve acquired to work as private chefs in the UK and overseas. Others may go on to become the food stylists or writers.

Some ENTCS recent graduates include:

  • Rukmini Iyer, former student on Three Month Intermediate Certificate Courseand MasterChef contestant is now a successful chef and author of the bestselling The Roasting Tin cookery book.
  • Isla Cruickshank attended the Three Month Beginners Certificate Course in September 2012. Since then she has used her qualification to find work during gap years and university holidays, allowing her to travel, study and explore the world.
  • Daisy Neale attended the Six Month Practical Cookery Diploma Course a year after she left school. Since then she has been hard at work, which has taken her throughout the UK and to Europe.
  • Lucy Harding attended the Six Month Practical Cookery Diploma Course in September 2013 after deciding that university wasn’t for her. She has been very busy since she left and has formed an exciting career in food.
  • Roly Simpson had a 12 year career in estate agency prior to taking the Six Month Practical Cookery Diploma Course in 2016. He has recently set up his own supper club and bespoke catering business in Edinburgh called Toasted Radish.
  • Peter Simpson attended the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School in September 2015 when he took the Six Month Practical Cookery Diploma Peter owns and runs the Pennan Inn in Pennan, Aberdeenshire.
  • Emma Louise McGettrick attended the Six Month Practical Cookery Diploma in September 2012. Since then she has worked in a number of Edinburgh restaurants including Mark Greenaway. She recently moved to London and is now working for Chef Robin Gill.

More case studies can be found at

The cook school offers a range of courses, recognised by the industry:

Three Month Beginners Certificate Course: provides comprehensive training in cooking practices run by professional chefs who are also excellent teachers.  Designed for those who wish to enter the food industry, this course is the first step to learning classical cookery skills.  Next course begins: 16 September 2019.

Six Month Practical Cookery Diploma: is the Three Month Beginners and Intermediate Certificate Course combined and gives an immediate stepping stone into a rewarding career within a professional kitchen.  Next course begins: 16 September 2019.

Three Month Intermediate Certificate Course: is designed for people with a solid knowledge and ability in basic cookery. It’s ideal for those wishing to take their cookery skills to the next level or for competent cooks who wish to have a formal training. Next course begins:  6 January 2020

One Month Course: basic cookery skills and an introduction to the professional kitchen.  Ideal for students looking for work in shooting lodges, villas abroad or ski chalets over the summer/winter or on a gap year. It is also perfect for school leavers on their way to university or university students who want a skill to help them earn money in the holidays.  Next Courses: 15th June – 10th July 2020 and 20th July – 14th August 2020.