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Student Stories: Jane Johnson on her Leiths Online Experience

Jane Johnson, one of Leiths Online's most dedicated students, sits down and chats about her experience taking online courses. She dives into her background in cooking, what fuels her passion and what she has learnt so far.

 Jane Johnson on her Leiths Online Experience

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What courses have you completed with Leiths Online and what made you turn to our online cooking courses?
Up until 2018 I spent a significant number of years commuting and working in offices in London.  In one of my roles, my path crossed with the tourism and hospitality training industry and I think that that role gave me my interest in food and cooking. In my spare time I started to volunteer as a cook for a heritage property making 18th century recipes and that led to the opportunity to volunteer in a professional kitchen.  I loved the professional kitchen and the chef I worked with was very happy to share his knowledge.  Every time I came away from a session I was absolutely buzzing.  

I left the office life and moved in to a part time role in the voluntary sector in a community kitchen. I was very lucky as again, I worked alongside another professional chef who was happy to teach me and share his extensive knowledge and passion for cooking. I wanted to learn more. I wanted something flexible that would not involve commuting.  I had already taken a couple of cooking sessions using the Workshop App and in 2019 I spotted that Leiths was going to launch an online version of the school in collaboration with Workshop and I decided to give it a go. I was aware of Leiths reputation from my previous role so I knew that it would be a first-rate route to follow.

So far I have completed 5 courses with Leiths Online: Essential Cooking, Chef Skills, Basics to Baker, Essential Bread & Patisserie, and Cooking with Confidence.

2. What cooking knowledge/ experience did you have before you started your first course?
I had some cooking knowledge from attending holiday cookery courses and attending a local cookery class plus the volunteering. Like many, I also have a collection of modern and historic recipe books.

3. How have your experiences on our culinary courses shaped how you cook at home and beyond?
The way I cook has totally changed; I don’t know where I would be without mis en place. I am not afraid to try new recipes or cuisines.  I come home from work and just make something...bread, a cake, pasta.  Before taking the Leiths courses I would not have dreamt of doing that. The courses are definitely confidence boosters.

4. What are some of your favourite parts from any of the courses? Any dishes or skills stand out?
I have learnt so many skills from poaching eggs to making an entremet but I think my favourites are pasta and bread.  As to favourite dishes, there have been so many brilliant recipes across the courses but the Ultimate Chocolate Cake and the entremet from Essential Bread and Patisserie Online Course with all its elements says it all.

5. Would you recommend Leiths Online to others looking to improve their cooking skills? Why?
Yes, I would definitely recommend the Leiths Online courses. There is something for all levels from beginners to professionals. I like the way the learning is multi disciplinary with video clips, written guidance, theory notes and time plans.  You can choose how you wish to learn.  The learning experience is up to you. The courses can be challenging, I found that, especially with the Essential Bread & Patisserie course, as there is so much in it to learn but it’s very rewarding and you can fit the sessions to suit you. The mentors on the course are great and help with any questions or queries. With all the courses you can chat to other class mates and the mentors too. It is a great online community to be part of.

6.. What's next for you and your cooking journey?
Learning more. I have just started the short 5- week Fish Fundamentals online course so I am looking forward to recapping some skills and learning new ones.  Beyond that, who knows in which direction my cooking journey will go.

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