Congratulations Cohort Seven!

SimonBurt18413cCohort Seven with Gennaro Contaldo walking on Watergate Bay

Fundraising and Marketing Officer Emma Perring gives us the low down on last Thursday’s Graduation ceremony…

“Last week over 250 people gathered to celebrate at the Eden Project for our 7th year of apprentice chefs graduating from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and the training programme run by the Cornwall Foundation of Promise.

The mile-stone event marked the completion of a 16 month intensive programme where young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training learn to become the chefs of the future. Joined by hundreds of people from supporters and suppliers, to close family and friends, the event as always didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.

Hosted by Jamie’s own mentor, Gennaro Contaldo, in the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome, the graduation recognised each of our apprentice’s, showing short clips from specially commissioned films highlighting their experiences of the programme, along with words of encouragement from the Fifteen Team. Our Training and Development Chef Karl Jones who is in charge of all of the training in the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen said:

“Our apprentices have had a busy year covering all sections in the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen. By training our guys in a real working environment we were able to get them to a great level within their 12 months  with us. Not only have they gained a professional qualification, they have also learnt skills in butchery, baking and fish filleting. They have also had a month’s work experience in some of the county’s best restaurants”.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Apprentice of the Year Award given to Ryan Smith of Perranporth and the Personal Development Award given to Matthew Macdonald of Bodmin. The awards each year are presented to the two apprentices who have made the most significant journey within the kitchen and training programme and also through their own personal development. Other awards included ‘The One Who Really Gets It’ awarded to Haley Sugden, the True Believer Award (presented by Fifteen Cornwall) awarded to Tom Sobey of Origin Coffee, the Progression Award given to Sam Lounds (graduate from Cohort 1), the True Believer Award (presented by the Cornwall Foundation of Promise) to Glen Gatland, and finally the Most Inspirational Chef award presented to trainer chef Tom Vose of Fifteen Cornwall.

Graduation_180413_sb1Personal Development Winner Matthew Macdonald with Gennaro Contaldo and Matt Thomas.


Apprentice of the Year Winner Ryan Smith with Gennaro Contaldo, Karl Jones, and Matthew Thomson.


Commenting on the achievements of this cohort, our CEO Matthew Thomson said:

“It has been a great privilege to work alongside them and I have seen close up the incredible demands we place on our apprentices and the enormous stamina, discipline, determination, humour and team spirit needed to succeed in the Fifteen Cornwall training programme”.

“Cohort 7 started at Fifteen Cornwall just three weeks before I started and when I look back at how much they have achieved in one year in the restaurant, I feel truly humbled”.

With the end in mind, this week also shared the arrival of the next cohort of apprentices to the Fifteen Cornwall Kitchen. At the event all 14 of them had their first taste of Fifteen life, preparing and serving antipasti to the guests prior to the ceremony. This group will now start their 12 month journey in the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen, alongside a professional qualification at Cornwall College.

The event, which was generously sponsored by Cornwall Works and supported by Jobcentre Plus, highlights the importance of local organisations working with local government to enable people to find and secure long term sustainable employment. Jobcentre Plus continue to work in partnership with Fifteen Cornwall and our charity, the Cornwall Foundation of Promise, and have recently worked on a number of new community cooking projects also tackling worklessness and un-employment.

Each of these graduates now leaves Fifteen and moves onto full time employment in some of the country’s top restaurants. Fifteen Cornwall and the Cornwall Foundation of Promise will continue to support them in their progression and professional career.”

See the videos from our graduation here:






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