How Prue Leith's Food Once Landed 28 People In The Hospital

We know Prue Leith as the quaint but sassy, yet always ready for a laugh, judge on "The Great British Baking Show." Before landing the GBBO job in place of Mary Berry, the culinary expert already had a lengthy career. In 1989, she received an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) and in 2010, a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) as part of the queen's birthday honor List in those years (via The Caterer). And, while she doesn't use the title on GBBO, her official name is Dame Prue Leith (per BBC America). 

Prior to this, the South African — who will celebrate her 83rd birthday in February 2023 — opened her first catering business when she was just 20 years old. Nine years later she started Leith's — a London-based Michelin-star restaurant — that she ran for 25 years. She also opened several schools for training in the culinary arts, and has four cookbooks and eight fiction novels, per Prue Leith. But, with all that culinary expertise, it's difficult to comprehend how she could send nearly 30 people to a hospital with food poisoning. 

You can always learn from your mistakes

You may agree that it takes a strong person to admit to their mistakes, especially when you're a well-known and well-respected expert in the culinary field. During her one-woman show, "Prue Leith: Nothing In Moderation", the chef admitted to an error that put 28 people in hospital, almost ending one person's life. 

"You can't be in catering for 30 years without something going disastrously wrong," she told the crowd, per National World. The event took place near the beginning of Leith's career and involved catering for a small crowd of people. Her chefs managed to cook a chicken that had been sitting out too long on an extremely warm South African day, and then they mixed it in with chicken that was already prepared. "All 30 people but two of them ended up in the hospital, and one of them was in critical care as he was very old and was a High Court judge," she said. "He could have ended up in the morgue and not in the hospital. That was a wake-up call."