Prue’s main interests, food, business, education and writing have led to a varied career. She is much in demand as an entertaining and amusing speaker on her career, and as a serious and knowledgeable speaker on education, the importance of good food and on women in business.
She started in catering with Leith’s Good Food, followed by Leith’s Restaurant, which won a Michelin Star, and Leith’s School of Food and Wine. The group employed 500 people when she sold it in the nineties.
She has been a food columnist for the Daily Mail, Sunday Express, the Guardian and the Daily Mirror, has written 12 cookbooks, her autobiography, Relish and seven novels, the latest of which, is The Prodigal Daughter. She was a judge on the Great British Menu (BBC2) series, My Kitchen Rules UK (Channel 4) and is now a judge on The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4).
She has been deeply involved in food in education, starting and chairing the charity Focus on Food, which promotes cooking in the curriculum, and the Hoxton Apprentice -- a not-for-profit restaurant training the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed young people. She was the Chair of the School Food Trust, which was largely responsible for the improvement in school food. She is Patron of the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy in her native South Africa.
She has also been active in general education, chairing Ashridge Management College, 3E’s Enterprises (an education company turning round failing schools and managing academies) and the RSA (Royal Society of Arts)
Prue has been a non-executive director of British Rail, Safeway, Halifax, Woolworths, Omega, Whitbread and Belmond (formerly Orient Express Hotels) and is also a director of two start-up companies, one an organic baby food and the other an on-line publishing company.
She received the CBE in 2010, Veuve Clicquot Business-Woman of the Year in 1990, and holds 13 honorary degrees or Fellowships from UK Universities.
She has published The Food of Love; Laura’s Story, the first book in a trilogy - a family saga, with the development of food from wartime rationing to organics and telly chefs as the background. The second book, The Prodigal Daughter, is out now.
She has a son and an adopted Cambodian daughter, and three grandchildren.