Dean Close is delighted to be associated with the prestigious Leiths School of Food and Wine in London and to be the only school in Cheltenham with a franchise to deliver its prestigious ‘Basic Certificate in Food and Wine’. Currently Dean Close is one of only 25 schools in the UK and the only co-educational school in Gloucestershire able to offer this professional, industry-recognised qualification awarded by Leiths in London. The course provides all the basic skills required to be a competent chef, with a mixture of modern and traditional cuisine, enabling its students to cook for any occasion and any number of people.

This comprehensive introduction to cooking gives pupils a thorough understanding of a wide range of culinary techniques and the science behind them. In addition the course teaches time management, menu planning and food presentation in order to ensure pupils gain a solid practical foundation which will give them the confidence to cook to a professional standard, either independently or in a group.

Leiths also promotes a positive attitude towards food ensuring students are trained in current healthy eating recommendations enabling recipes to be adapted for different life stages and for a balanced lifestyle. They will also learn how to shop seasonally and economically and will be taught store cupboard recipes and creative uses for leftovers.

The course fee includes a set of professional chefs whites and engraved knives, a Leiths cookery ‘bible’ and comprehensive teaching materials. All ingredients are provided as part of the course and are sourced locally wherever possible allowing students to experience cooking with high quality fresh produce. Students will either sit down at the end of each lesson to enjoy what they have made together or will package them in takeaway containers to take home or back to their boarding houses at the end of the day to share with family and friends.

As well as mastering a wide range of culinary skills, students will learn to cook a range of delicious recipes from around the world including Goujons of plaice with tartare sauce; Duck breasts with ginger, chilli and lime; English roast chicken with all the trimmings; Rack of lamb with mustard crust; Za’atar crusted prawns with a bulghar wheat and herb salad; Summer berry pavlova; Vanilla cheesecake with fresh melba sauce and a selection of Homemade ice creams.

The course also includes an introduction to wine delivered by a Leiths Master of Wine guiding students through a tasting of various wines enabling selection of wines to compliment different foods and recipes, as well as a ‘gold standard’ Chartered Institute of Environmental Health level two food safety and hygiene certificate.

By the end of the course students will be able to fend for themselves at university and cook in later life for friends and family with ease. Students who wish to use the qualification to find paid work can register with ‘Leiths List’ and be considered for jobs at a junior commis level or as an assistant to continue to develop skills, knowledge and confidence. For students with professional ambitions, the successful completion of the Introductory Certificate can be a fast track to the Leiths Two Term Diploma, a culinary alternative to university.

The course is offered during Sixth form and is five terms in duration culminating in a final written theory and practical cookery examination. The course can be taken either on the curriculum as part of the enrichment block or off timetable during lunchtimes and evenings. It is delivered by professionally qualified teaching staff at Dean Close, however students are also regularly observed and assessed by Leiths chefs and progress is closely monitored on a weekly basis to ensure the highest possible standards are maintained. During the five term course Students also gain experience catering for large professional events such as a Christmas canape party, a summer valedictory buffet and a community bonfire night fireworks display.