Extended Certificate in Professional Cookery

Leiths Level 3 Extended Certificate

Gain vital skills for life with this professional qualification from the UK's most prestigious cookery school. Develop core techniques and study the associated theory as you create delicious recipes. You will also master time management, menu planning, safety and hygiene, food presentation and healthy eating as you build a strong foundation in this growing, dynamic industry.

Why St Mary's

Choose St Mary's for a unique opportunity to combine your A Level subjects, with this innovative, practical course. Written and run by Leiths the UK's most prestigious cookery school and accredited by the the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH), this qualification is an A Level style course worth 12-36 UCAS points.

The course is delivered over five terms and is based on 46 core weeks of practical menus which will develop a wide range of culinary skills. This qualification can play a pivotal role in opening the door to careers in food and drink - from cheffing to food teaching; cookery writing to food photography and journalism; recipe design and development to marketing and advertising. Successful students are eligible to apply for career advice and support into employment via Leiths List.

Highlights of this course at St Mary's include:

  • Regular visits and lessons from teachers at Leiths Academy, London
  • Assessments from Leiths professionals - leaders in their field
  • Our International Street Food tasting trip
  • Experience in catering for key St Mary's events
  • Career advice and support into employment via Leiths List

As well as gaining a leading industry qualification, which will set you on course to enter the food and beverage industry, this course is a valuable addition to a UCAS Personal Statement.

Uniform and equipment (ordered through St Mary's)

  • Chef jacket
  • Chef trousers
  • Bazley hat
  • Leiths white apron
  • Non-slip footwear e.g trainers
  • Optional set of our recommended knives engraved with pupils’ initials

Enabling your transition from GCSE

Our teachers will offer guidance on developing your skills over the summer, before joining Sixth Form, alongside key reading.

Throughout the course, you will have access to the support of both our teacher and visiting Leiths professionals. This course involves extended length practical sessions every week, to build on skills gained at GCSE level.

Course overview

This course includes practical skills and theorectical knowledge. It is designed to:

  • Hone in on particular key skills
  • Concentrate on flavour and texture
  • Develop your confidence, creativity and maturity
  • Enhance your employability
  • Improve your time management, organisation and team-work skills

Contents include

  • Diverse recipes and catering skills
  • Time management
  • Menu planning
  • Food safety and hygiene
  • Food presentation
  • Healthy eating

On completion you will have a solid practical foundation, as well as an impressive repertoire that will enables you to cook confidently for yourself and for small groups.

Catering skills include

  • Meat preparation example lessons
    • Pan-fried sirloin steak with Bearnaise, sweet potato wedges and roasted vine tomatoes
    • Sweet potato wedges and roasted vine tomatoes
    • Herb stuffed chicken breast with stuffed leg, tarragon cream sauce, French beans and butternut fondants
  • Fish and seafood preparation example lessons
    • Pan-fried sea bream with fennel and orange salad with seaweed hassleback potatoes
    • Classic moules mariniere
  • International cookery example dishes
    • Ramen
    • Vietnamese spring rolls
    • Tandoori prawns, flatbreads and coriander chutney
  • Puddings example dishes
    • Vanilla pannacotta with roasted rhubarb and shortbread crumb
    • Pavlova with orange, pomegranate and lemon curd cream
  • Pastry example dishes
    • Choux – sweet and savoury
    • Shortcrust – classic Leeks and Gruyere flan
    • Rough puff – sausage rolls with sweet onion chutney
  • Baking example dishes
    • Rosemary focaccia
    • Chocolate cake with chocolate shards
    • Raspberry and mascarpone Swiss roll


  • A practical cooking log of weekly tasting with evaluation of dishes cooked

  • Online level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering with allergen awareness assessment 

  • Two 3 hour practical assessments examined by Leiths

  • Written menu planning coursework task

  • Termly theory tests

  • A group practical community cooking task with photographic evidence

Grade bands for CTH Level 3 UCAS tariff

Accredited by the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH)

  • Pass (12 UCAS points): 50 - 69%
  • Merit (24 UCAS points): 70 - 84%
  • Distinction (36 UCAS points): 85%+
At a glance
  • Accredited by: Leiths School of Food and Wine
  • Perfect preparation for a catering career
  • Continuous classroom assessment
  • Practical exam
  • Written exam on theoretical knowledge
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • You are keen build your skills
  • Are practical and creative
  • Would like to pursue a catering career
  • Enjoy cooking for family and friends

What our teachers say...

"Food is a subject for which I have endless passion and enthusiasm. I have always been practical, active and creative and since the age of 14, I have pursued a career centered around flavour and taste, and the pleasure of food and wine."

"As far as I'm concerned we all know quite enough for our own good: that we should eat less red meat, more fish, more veg and stay off cheap bought junk. End of story." Prue Leith

Knowledge of food and the importance it plays in our every day life is changing everyday, as scientists discover more about its role in health. There are really two reasons to learn to cook well. One is for pleasure – for taste, flavour and social interaction. The second is to halt the downward spiral into expensive and unhealthy pre-prepared food, that we are tempted to rely on because of lack of skill or time.

From Lorraine Pascale and Signe Johansen, to Angela Malik and Florence Knight, a long list of successful chefs, restaurant owners, food-writers, food-stylists and artisan producers began their story with training at Leiths, the UK's most prestigious cookery school.

On completion of your course, you will benefit from access to the Leiths connections, opening up exceptional industry contacts and opportunities. You could continue to study on the Leiths pathway, which progresses to Diploma level, or choose from myriad of more specialised courses in everything from patisserie skills through to food photography.

This exciting industry is full of varied career routes including private and corporate event catering, food styling, recipe development and food journalism. With scope to work all around the world, this is a great qualification for those who would like to travel in the future.

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