Prudence Margaret Leith was born on February 18, 1940, the only girl of three siblings in a Johannesburg family.
childhood as very privileged.
received a liberal education at St Mary's School for Girls
, an Anglican church school in Waverley that, at the time, was run by nuns.
became a boarder at St Mary's
was nine; though Leith
lived only 5km (3mi) from the school, her
mother's acting career kept her
out at night.
was an ambitious young girl.
At the age of 20, after dropping out of university, Leith
father that she
should finish her
education in France, having always wanted to live in cosmopolitan and happening Europe.
father died when she
was 21, which was tragic blow to the young woman.
While in France, Leith
developed a deep interest in food and headed to London's Cordon Bleu to learn to cook; she
has since spent most of her
working life in the city.
In 1960, Leith
formed a company supplying quality business lunches.
This became Leith's Good Food Limitedwhich, in 1995, had an estimated turnover of £15-million.
In 1969 she
opened Leith's restaurant.
Michelin Guide - begun in the 1900s - highlights exceptional chefs and eateries.
This prestigious and influential culinary-world handbook dished out a star to Leith's
, putting it on the map.
In 1974, Leith
married South African writer Rayne Kruger, who published seven novels and several non-fiction books, including Goodbye Dolly Gray, the story of the Boer War.
is the school's successful employment agency, and Leith's
Food Solutions helps chefs establish and develop their businesses.
In 1997, the Prue Leith Chef's Academy
was opened in Centurion, Gauteng
It adheres to the same stringent standards and enjoys access to the same network as the London school.
Another facet of Leith's gigantic empire is cookery books, including Leith's Cookery Bible
(on its third edition), Leith's Guide to Wine, Leith's Contemporary Cooking, Leith's Step-by-Step Cookery Recipes and Techniques, Leith's Book of Baking, Leith's Vegetarian Cookery and Leith's Complete Christmas, all published by Bloomsbury and produced at the School.
The entrepreneur has also penned four novels: Leaving Patrick(1995), Sisters (2001), A Lovesome Thing (2004) and Choral Society
Leith has been a cookery editor and food columnist for the Daily Mail, Sunday Express, The Guardian and The Mirror.
holds directorships and chairs numerous boards.
honours include being named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year in 1990, and seven honorary degrees or fellowships from English universities.
She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1989 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2010 Birthday Honours.
Leith has been a judge on the BBC television programme Great British Menu since the series launched in 2006.
From November 2006 to January 2010, she was chair of the School Food Trust, the British government's campaign to replace fatty foods with fresh fruit and vegetables in schools.
At 70, Leith
is now a grandmother, but she
is as busy and successful as ever.
Rayne Kruger died in 2002, at the age of 80.
is very close to her
two children, who live in separate apartments in the same building.