It’s no secret that the apprentice chefs come to Fifteen Cornwall with very challenging pasts. Often they’ve experienced problems with drugs and alcohol, criminality or difficult home lives. True to Jamie’s original mission our aim is to give them the tools with which to create a successful, vibrant future.
We believe that change must come from within and our training programme is designed to achieve exactly that. All we ask for is a desire to make that change.
Getting on to the programme is a challenge in itself. For good reason. The apprentices aren’t used to achievement and the programme is designed to give a sense of accomplishment at every step. The more these young people are reinforced with a sense of their own abilities the more they begin to recognise in themselves their own potential.
The hard graft continues throughout the programme. Whether it’s working intensively for long hours, striving for a top restaurant standard of cooking in a short time or spending a month’s work experience at a leading restaurant we make them prove themselves time and again. Mind you, that’s not to say it isn’t fun. The programme is a balance of developing self-belief, hard work and passion. Food is a magical way to fire passion so we use sourcing visits, a trip to Italy and regular supplier visits to really cement a hunger to learn about and work with food. One-on-one training throughout the programme with our team of professional chefs doesn’t do any harm either.
When it comes to graduation, after 16 tough months, the apprentices have blossomed into successful, confident young men and women with richly rewarding careers ahead of them.
The application process
Last time we looked the application success ratio was hovering around that of the SAS. Don’t worry; the process is a little less gruelling. With around 200 applicants for just 20 places it’s not an easy programme to get on to, but if you’re serious about wanting to make a positive change to your life then click here for more information.
What does the Fifteen Cornwall training course involve?
The journey from apprentice to professional chef begins with four months at Cornwall College. Apprentices study for VRQ1 in Catering Studies and get up to speed with Health and Safety, and Food Hygiene certificates. This mix of academic success and developing practical skills empowers the group early on. We back it up with valuable support from the college team, all the time encouraging them to see their own potential.
With exams out the way comes the best bit. Twelve months in the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen. Our team of 20 professional chefs create a atmosphere of learning and by graduation each apprentice will have mastered the skills and confidence to succeed in all stations of a professional kitchen. Not only that but over the course of the programme the apprentices study towards NVQ2 so that they graduate with both the know-how and qualifications needed to further their careers. The training culminates in a month long placement at a top restaurant where apprentices get to put their skills to the test in a commercial kitchen.
We’re realistic and we know that the problems apprentices arrive with don’t simply vanish so our welfare team is on hand throughout the programme to help where it’s needed.
And then what?
We’ve had our wagers on when we’d see our first apprentice head chef and who it would be but no one predicted it would come as soon as it did. For the apprentice in point it was an incredible transformation. He’s made us all very proud. It’s just one example of what the students go on to achieve.
With such a valuable skill set the world is truly theirs but no matter how long its been since an apprentice has graduated The Cornwall Food Foundation is always there to offer support and career development. We pledged a long-term commitment to the Fifteen Cornwall apprentices and it’s one we rigorously stand by.