Prue Leith

It's a good thing Prue Leith's a baker, because her life is 'jam packed' with extraordinary ventures and achievements. A chef, baker, businesswoman, charity runner, educator, author, television personality, and a dame will Prue Leith perhaps go to space next? We're only left to wonder... read here to see what she has done in the past, not the future


Birthday: 18 February 1940

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Prue Leith has led the kind of life that invokes the response: ‘where does she find the time?’ Honestly, she has done so many things that it won’t be possible to put them all here. Born in Cape Town, South Africa to Sam Leith, a mining explosives manufacturer, and Peggy Inglis, an actress, Prue Leith had no idea what she wanted as a career. That is until she convinced her parents to allow her to attend the Sorbonne in Paris, where the passion to begin a career in the food industry arose. At the age of 20, she travelled to London to enrol in Cordon Bleu Cookery School and in the same year began a business that became Leith’s Good Food, supplying business lunches and event catering.

Leith opened her first restaurant in Notting Hill in the year 1969, named Leith’s, which was later awarded a Michelin star. She kept the restaurant until 1995, when it was sold and later closed, however. Alongside her award-winning restaurant, Leith founded Leith’s School of Food and Wine to train professional and amateur cooks (her first foray into education), and then sold the business in 1993 after much success. She has also set up a school in South Africa, run, started, and been involved with charities that encourage cookery in the curriculum, cookery for vulnerable young people, and improving school meals.

Leith’s television career surprisingly began unsuccessfully, with a last-minute hosting role on a 1970s magazine series on cookery for women, she disliked the experience but later realised this was a result of the format. Decades later, she began to warm to the idea again and started appearing in some guest roles, then taking a judging position on BBCs The Great British Menu, a role she held for seven years from 2006. Her next big role, and the one that really shot her into stardom, was taking on the position as judge on the Great British Bake Off in 2017, after the show had moved onto Channel 4 from the BBC and previous judge Mary Berry left the role. Leith has taken starring roles in charity spin off shows of GBBO and has taken on solo projects too.

Alongside the cookery television, Leith has found time to feature on daytime and morning shows, including several appearances on Loose Women. Leith is admittedly outspoken on her political beliefs, stating her support for Brexit and defence for Dominic Cummings during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Leith was married to author Rayne Kruger from 1974 until his death in 2002. The couple had two children: Li-Da Kruger, a filmmaker, and Danny Kruger, serving Conservative MP for Devizes.

"'There’s nothing wrong with money. One of the reasons I’ve always loved business is that if you look at a profit-and-loss account and the bottom line is the right colour – not red – you get the sort of buzz you have when you’ve made the perfect wedding buffet. ‘We did that!’ I got huge satisfaction that our restaurant had 32 waiters with families who were all living off our venture'"

Prue Leith's Books

Prue Leith has her own library of books, here are the cookbooks


FAQs

Is Prue Leith married?
Prue Leith is married to John Playfair and has been since 2016. She was previously married to Rayne Kruger until he died in 2002.

Is Prue Leith a dame?
Prue Leith was made a dame in the Queen's birthday honours list in 2021

Has Prue Leith got any pets?
Prue Leith has two King Charles Spaniels

Prue Leith's TV Shows

Leith's television career may have began in the 1970s, but it really came into its own in the mid 2000s

Prue's Great Garden Plot
2021 - 2021

Prue's Great Garden Plot

Cook Clever, Waste Less with Prue and Rupy
2021 - 2021

Cook Clever, Waste Less with Prue and Rupy

Prue Leith: Journey With My Daughter
2020 - 2020

Prue Leith: Journey With My Daughter

My Greatest Dishes
2019 - 2019

My Greatest Dishes

Junior Bake Off
2019 - 2019

Junior Bake Off

The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C
2017 - 2020

The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
2017 - 2020

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice

The Great British Bake Off
2017 - 2021

The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Menu
2006 - 2013

The Great British Menu

Quotes

'There’s nothing wrong with money. One of the reasons I’ve always loved business is that if you look at a profit-and-loss account and the bottom line is the right colour – not red – you get the sort of buzz you have when you’ve made the perfect wedding buffet. ‘We did that!’ I got huge satisfaction that our restaurant had 32 waiters with families who were all living off our venture'
2017

'I think that it’s important to be doing something or creating something. There must have been a time, I think, when some women were content with not having a career and being the stable force in the family. But I think today there is a lack of satisfaction in being subservient all the time to other people – your children or your husband or whoever.'
2017

‘I’ve spent 60 years trying to persuade governments to teach children to love food.’
2021

‘What I’d like written on my tombstone would be ‘writer’, more for novels than for cookbooks. But food is so much part of my life because food happens three times a day, doesn’t it? I’m better known for food but I’m not the best cook I know. And I’m certainly not the best baker I know.’
2020