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40 years in catering – Portsmouth to royal yacht parties and back again

Nick Leach at the awards event with Peter Ducker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality (left) and Alastair Storey, President of the Institute of Hospitality (right).

Head of Catering Services Nick Leach has been made a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality in recognition of his 40 years working in the catering industry, including time arranging royal yacht parties and designing kitchens for the King of Spain.

Nick started his training with a three year Professional Chef Diploma which he completed in 1979 in Anglesea Building when the University was a Polytechnic.

Then, as part of the Under 21 British Culinary Team, Nick won a bronze medal in Le Salon de Londres, which ignited his passion for competitions. This led to a successful career, including arranging dinner parties for royalty while living on a yacht in Palma Harbour in Majorca and giving input into the design of the kitchens in a replica of the White House being built for the King of Spain just outside of Puerto Banus.


Cooking became a passion for Nick at a young age.

During his 40 years experience, Nick has worked as Head Chef in high profile establishments such as leading investment bank Kleinwort Benson, under renowned chefs Albert and Michel Roux. He then worked in several managerial positions at different institutions over the years before returning to the University as Head of Catering in 2000.


Nick received his Fellowship at an Institute of Hospitality celebratory dinner at the Savoy Hotel in London along with 38 other new Fellows. Each Fellow was presented with a certificate and treated to a champagne reception to welcome them into the Institute’s Fellowship community.

Nick said: “My three years at Anglesea Road were some of the happiest and I enjoyed college life to the full. Who would have known where it would lead when we all stood outside on our last day for a photo. From cooking on multi-million-pound yachts, working at the largest merchant bank in Europe and finally back to where it all started, I still sometimes walk the corridors I did when I was a student. Being made a Fellow is recognition for 40 years in catering which I have enjoyed every minute of and I will be always grateful for the opportunity Portsmouth gave me.”

Nick and his classmates outside Anglesea road in 1979.

Nick has now been Head of Catering Services at the University for nearly half of his career and has been implementing change in order to introduce and trial new schemes to reduce environmental impact. This includes activities like the Mug for Life scheme to cut down on the use of single use hot cups, and the removal of all plastic straws and cutlery. Most recently glass milk bottles are being trialled to reduce the amount of single use plastic sachets across campus.

2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Congratulations Nick. Well deserved!

  2. Wow..what a career Nick, congratulations

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