Press Release: 10th birthday Media Pack – 16 May 2016

16 / 05 / 2016

10 years: What does it mean?

10 years; nearly three-quarters of a million diners served, 180 young people in need of a second change trained as apprentice chefs, 112 graduates and £30m sales generated with 100% of the profits going back into the development of young people and suppliers from Cornwall, that’s what Jamie Oliver came to Cornwall to celebrate as restaurant and social enterprise Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall hosted a day of 10th birthday festivities at it’s restaurant on Watergate Bay, North Cornwall during it’s 10th anniversary year.

Still a leader on Cornwall’s booming food scene…

The restaurant itself remains a leader on Cornwall’s booming food scene with a team of talented, innovative and creative Chefs striving to advance the Italian inspired menu with a Cornish twist by constantly researching new trends, developing strong local sourcing relationships and continuing to build a reputation for only working with the highest quality, freshest ingredients – the menu changing daily to reflect what’s delivered daily to the kitchen door.

Magical service is also part of the story

Brilliant magical service is also a vital ingredient of the Fifteen Cornwall success story, with the Front of House team striving for excellence.

A regular customer recently emailed in feedback to say: “The atmosphere and food was as good on your 10th anniversary as it was when we dined on the first week you opened at Watergate Bay. Since you opened we have returned each year and the standards you set just improve every time.”

10 years of the Apprentice Scheme

The Fifteen Cornwall Apprenticeship Programme has recently seen it’s 11th group of new recruits start in the kitchen and the 10th group graduated on 16 May 2016.

Key to its success is a welfare support programme that helps young people access the programme, stay onboard and overcome any personal barriers that may hold them back.

But that’s not all…

But there’s even more to Fifteen Cornwall than that – the investment in front of house staff, the wine team, the Chefs themselves, the investment in hospitality and the Cornish hospitality industry, and the strong, long term, relationships with local suppliers.

Fifteen Cornwall had a vision to also give something back to hospitality, and invest in the people that make it what it is, and 10 years later it has delivered on this.

If you travel around Cornwall to pretty much anywhere half-decent with a kitchen you’re quite likely to be greeted by a huge number of familiar faces who have at some point in their career worked at Fifteen Cornwall, now working in all aspects of the industry, ex-staff and graduates doing really amazing things around the county who are making a huge contribution to the hospitality industry here in Cornwall.

These ex-Fifteeners are not only a workforce contributing to the local economy, but individuals who are hugely active in the food and play a vital role in continuing to keep Cornwall’s food culture moving forwards and keeping Cornwall well and truly on the foodie map.

Fifteen Cornwall has created a legacy of people, places and a community many employees past and present feel really proud to be a part of.

In terms of monetary investment, since its founding in 2006, the business has ploughed £20 million into the Cornish economy. This is generated from its significant wage bill, an intensive Cornish based training programme, and local supplier spend.

Stats – 10 years on….

• 184 apprentices have been recruited to our kitchen – vast majority unemployed and untrained

• 50% of trainees recruited were suffering from mental health problems

• 40% of trainees had behavioural problems including violent and/or offending behavior and/or substance misuse

• 112 Chefs have completed the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Programme

• 91% of graduates remain employed

• 80% are still working as chefs

• Business created 70 year-round jobs in hospitality

• Over £22 million into the Cornish economy through wages and food-spend

• Over £4 million invested in training and support of disadvantaged young people (restaurant profits topped up by independent funding)

Recipe for success – what makes it work?

A true social enterprise model…  Wholly owned by the charity, the Cornwall Food Foundation, the Fifteen Cornwall Restaurant was built with £600k ERDF investment, match funded by the Regional Development Agency, Jobcentre Plus, Restormel Borough Council, Cornwall County Council and the private sector. Since then the Apprentice Programme has been part-funded through investment from ESF (around £1.1M), mainstream Jobcentre Plus and Skills Funding Agency and 100% of the profits from the Fifteen Cornwall Restaurant – a true social enterprise model.

The Apprentice scheme

The Apprenticeship Programme consists of 3 months full-time training at Cornwall College, 4 weeks work experience in high quality kitchens and one year in the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen.

Key to its success is a unique welfare support programme that helps young people access the programme, stay onboard and overcome any personal barriers.

Recruitment is targeted towards young people with biggest barriers to progression. The model balancing public funding from local and EU sources with traded profit is now proven to be both successful and self-sustaining.

The apprentice scheme takes some of the most challenged young people in Cornwall. It challenges the problems of youth employment and social exclusion through the restaurant and college training programme, and is supported through essential counselling care.

To apply, candidates must live in Cornwall; must be between 16 and 24; and must not be in employment, education or training.

This year’s graduates bring to 180-plus the number of young chefs the foundation and Fifteen have successfully trained. Some have found other jobs, usually in catering, but over 80% are still cheffing, many in prestigious establishments. That’s a lot of young lives set on a different course.

Case studies: Please contact us for Graduate Case Studies

The impact on Cornwall’s economy

In one of the poorest parts of the country (Cornwall’s GDP is 62% of the national average), Fifteen Cornwall pays 70 full-time salaries and spends £1m a year with local suppliers; one, Rob Hocking, Buttervilla says his plot once fed just his family but now, growing heritage tomatoes, herbs and berries for Fifteen, provides three decent incomes.

Supplier stories: Please contact us for more supplier case studies.


Jamie Oliver said:

“It’s hard to believe it’s already been 10 years since I came down to Watergate Bay and started the Fifteen Cornwall restaurant and Apprentice Programme. It’s been one hell of a ride, but it absolutely remains one of the things I’m most proud of. Fifteen Cornwall has produced chefs and chefs and more chefs, and is still knocking out incredible food day in, day out, year after year. Thank you to everyone in the Fifteen Cornwall team as well as all our wonderful friends and supporters who’ve helped us along the way.”

The birthday event on the 16 May 2016

Celebrating with over 50 graduates of the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Scheme since it launched 10 years ago, Jamie Oliver and his own mentor Gennaro Contaldo, hosted a reunion breakfast at the restaurant in Watergate Bay on 16 May 2016.

The Fifteen Cornwall Reunion breakfast was the beginning of a day of celebrations with Jamie who also hosted a lunch for loyal supporters of the restaurant, apprentice programme and The Cornwall Foundation Foundation, the charity behind the apprentice programme and the restaurant.

Watch: Jamie’s Facebook Live video from our celebrations on the day

About the Cornwall Food Foundation

While best known for managing the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Programme and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant, the Cornwall Food Foundation is an ever evolving charity using food to ignite change.

The Foundation  believes food skills are life skills that can unlock the true potential of the most challenged individual. Their ambition is to work with people and food to improve the economy, environment and health of Cornwall, running great training programmes, developing community food skills and strengthening the local food system.

Last year, supported by Crowdfunder UK they launched FoodWorks, an innovative food-skills and life-skills programme for people in Cornwall in great need. Fifteen Cornwall chefs come out of the kitchen and into communities to teach quick and easy, nutritious and fun meals from scratch that can be replicated at home on a budget.

So far they have run 21 community cooking sessions in Penzance, St Austell, Bodmin, Liskeard and Bude, involving over 40 people referred by their local job centres. Further Foodworks programmes are planned in Newquay and St Austell and are also starting to work with local GPs to garget healthier eating training where it’s most needed.

By bringing people together to learn and practice food skills, explore better eating choices, share food, and have some fun together they can really help them tackle a variety of things in life which are holding them back.

It’s early days but they’ve already seen people make changes in their lives. They equipped and trained a one-armed military veteran who had been going hungry for days at a time because he believed he couldn’t feed himself without someone to help, and who is now cooking for himself. They helped a woman suffering deep aanxiety and mental health issues escape a dependency on nutritional supplements. She’s now confident of her basic nutritional food knowledge and ability to feed herself with a healthy balanced diet – saving money on diet pills.

This year they have worked with over 40 teachers and given over 1300 primary school children healthy cooking lessons, going out to 20 schools and welcoming 18 schools back to Fifteen. Engaging with children is a massive part of what they do and they’ve been really pleased to be able to share Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project resources with 49 schools across Cornwall too. They want every child in Cornwall to know to grow food, cook food and make money from food.

How to support:

Visit the restaurant or donate directly via

Find out more:


10th Birthday Approved Photos

For case studies – Apprentice Scheme Graduates, our Hospitality Team and our Suppliers please contact us directly.


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Fifteen Cornwall Limited • Registered in England • Company No: 05653435 • Registered Office: On the Beach, Watergate Bay, TR8 4AA