Prue Leith

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Prudence Margaret "Prue" Leith, CBE (born 18 February 1940)[1] is a restaurateur, caterer, television presenter/broadcaster and cookery writer. She was born in South Africa, with her working life spent mostly in London.

Early life[edit]

Her father Sam worked for a subsidiary of ICI that produced dynamite for use in mines and became a director. From the age of five until she was 17 she attended St Mary's School, Waverley; an Anglican independent private boarding school for girls in Johannesburg run by nuns.[2]


In 1960, Leith started a business supplying high quality business lunches, which grew to become Leith's Good Food, the party and event caterer. In 1969, she opened Leith's, her famous Michelin starred restaurant. In 1975 she founded Leiths School of Food and Wine which trains amateur and professional chefs. The group reached a turnover of £15m in 1993, when she sold all but the restaurant which she sold in 1995. She has been a cookery editor and food columnist for the Daily Mail, Sunday Express, The Guardian and The Mirror. Aside from cookery books, including Leith's Cookery Bible, she has written five novels: Leaving Patrick, Sisters, A Lovesome Thing (all published by Penguin Books), Choral Society and A Serving of Scandal (published by Quercus).[citation needed]. She was also part of the Consumer Debt Working Group that contributed to the Conservative Party's 2006 policy document "Breakdown Britain".

From November 2006 to January 2010, she was chair of the School Food Trust, the British government's campaign to replace foods high in salt, sugar and fat with freshly cooked, healthy food, a job she described as the most important of her long career.[3] She has been a judge on the BBC television programme Great British Menu since the series' inception in 2006.[citation needed]


Leith has received many honours, including the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year in 1990, and eleven honorary degrees or fellowships from UK universities.[4][5][6]

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1989 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[7]


Prue has two children, a son and a daughter. Her daughter, Li-Da Kruger (a Cambodian adoptee), is a filmmaker. Leith's son, Danny Kruger, left his job as speechwriter and advisor to David Cameron to start an arts charity (Only Connect), working with prisoners and ex-offenders, with his wife, Emma.

Her brother, ex-restaurateur James Leith, is married to Penny Junor and the couple's son, Prue's nephew, is the journalist Sam Leith.[citation needed]

Prue is a Patron of Dignity in Dying.

In 2009, she revealed that she was in a romantic relationship with her long-time friend, the businessman and pianist Sir Ernest Hall.[8]


External links[edit]