Although she’s been hitting the headlines as one of those shortlisted to succeed Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off when the show moves to channel 4, she’s best known for another programme: the Great British Menu. Since the BBC show started in 2006, the author and restaurateur has been a judge on the cookery competition.
As well as starting up her own Michelin star restaurant, Leith’s, she’s also been the head of Leith’s School of Food and Wine since 1974.
She’s also written several surname-based books from Leith’s How to Cook, to Leith’s Cookery Bible and Leith’s Techniques Bible.
Leith was born in South Africa in 1940 and went on to study Drama, Fine Art and Architecture before moving to France to learn the native language. However, while there she developed a love of cooking and aged 20 she started up her own company, Leith’s Good Food, which served up high-end grub to businesses.
This evolved into a catering business and in 1969 she opened her restaurant, Leith’s, which was later awarded a Michelin star.
Prue Leith opening her restaurant in 1969
Leith was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OB) in 1989 and even went on to become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2010.
As well as writing food columns for the Daily Mail, Sunday Express, The Guardian and the Daily Mirror, Leith has penned several books. These include cookbooks, novels such as Leaving Patrick and Sisters, and her own memoirs Relish in 2012.
Leith is also known for heading various important-sounding cooking boards, including the Restaurateurs Association and the School Food Trust, a campaign to make children’s food healthier.