Cohort 6 graduate in style!

On Thursday night we celebrated the graduation of our Cohort 6 apprentice chefs – with 13 graduating as fully qualified chefs!  This comes after four months of study at Cornwall College, a year’s hands-on experience in the kitchen, and then further work placements in other professional kitchens around the UK. The ceremony took place at Truro Cathedral where the 450 guests were first treated to a drink and canapé reception served by our new apprentices, cohort 7. The cathedral was the perfect venue for such a memorable occasion and our Italian inspiration was in abundance with olive trees running up the nave.

We’ve uploaded an inspiring video from Graduation night to our homepage. To watch it click here >>

Friends, family and suporters of the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Programme were thrilled with the surprise entrance of Jamie Oliver who helicoptered in especially for the graduation.

He presented the apprentices with their graduation awards and other hard working members of the Fifteen Cornwall team including Rob Hocking from Buttervilla, Matthew Stevens from Matthew Stevens and Son, Michael Mallett, Barry Horne and Judi Blakeburn. Clearly excited and inspired by Jamies attendance the graduates and apprentices enjoyed the opportunity to spend some valuable time with their role model.

“Our beautiful Cornwall restaurant has continued to impress and delight thousands of customers, and the food and training have been truly inspirational under the watchful eyes of Andy Appleton in the kitchen and Polly Dent in the restaurant,” commented Jamie.

This year all our graduates are now in full time employment making it one of our most successful cohorts to date.

Roger Furniss, Chairman of the Cornwall Foundation of Promise comments: ”Our congratulations go to all 13 graduates. Their hard work and commitment has enabled us to give them the opportunity to transform their lives and launch lifetime careers in food. We wish them all the very best for successful futures.”

The graduation was able to take place at Truro Cathedral due to the financial support of Cornwall Works. We receive ESF (European Social Fund) Convergence support, via Jobcentre Plus, and support from the Skills Funding Agency, via ESF Convergence.  We are delighted Cornwall Works, which also receives ESF Convergence investment via Jobcentre Plus, supported the graduation ceremony this year. Cornwall Works aim is to overcome barriers to employment particularly for people with disabilities or health conditions, lone parents, people aged 50 and over, ethnic minorities and people with no or low qualifications.

A closer look at some of the graduating apprentices:

Ben Ambridge


Prior to joining Fifteen Cornwall, Ben Ambridge, 24 from Newquay, was struggling to provide for his partner and child, moving from job-to-job: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Fifteen Cornwall, I now have direction in my life and a job that I want to get out of bed for. I love working within a team, it gives me a lot of satisfaction and I know that this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life. A few years from now, I hope to be a chef in a respectable kitchen and then one day, have my own restaurant. I want to provide a good life for my girlfriend and son.”

James Cuthill

James Cuthill, 24 from Bodmin, had been battling a long-term mental illness before joining the programme. He is now able to keep his illness in check: “The Fifteen apprenticeship was more than I hoped for. It’s made me more positive, confident and I can now do things I didn’t ever think would be possible. It’s tough but extremely rewarding when you put the hard work in. I have had some experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Emily Hunt

One apprentice that particularly excelled during the programme is Emily Hunt, 22 from Marazanvose, who has already secured a job opportunity with River Café. River Café is a big supporter of the Fifteen Cornwall apprentice programme, understandably as Jamie himself earned his whites in their kitchen.

Ruth Rogers, owner and chef at River Café comments:  “We’re proud to work closely with Fifteen Cornwall, which offers education to young people who want to become chefs.  The River Cafe is excited that Emily Hunt, one of their impressive graduates, will be coming to work with us.”

We’d like to say a massive congratulations to all of the graduating apprentices, and thank you to everybody who attended the ceremony. Here’s to Cohort 7!


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