Graduation 2014 – Cohort 8

Last night over 200 people gathered to celebrate at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall for the 8th year of apprentice chefs graduating from its training programme run by the Cornwall Food Foundation.


The mile-stone event marked the completion of a 16 month intensive programme where young people aged 16-24 who were not in education, employment or training learn to become professional chefs. 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, the graduation recognised all six apprentices, showing short clips from specially commissioned films highlighting their experiences of the programme, along with words of encouragement from the Fifteen Team.IMG_5317

Training and Development Chef Karl Jones who is in charge of all of their 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 country’s best restaurants”.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Apprentice of the Year Award given to Jordan George of Penzance and the Personal Development Award given to Chris Emmins 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.IMG_5453IMG_5450

Other awards included ‘The One Who Really Gets It’ awarded to Emma Bourton, the True Believer Award (presented by Fifteen Cornwall) awarded to Gennaro Contaldo, the Progression Award given to Gemma Davies (graduate from Cohort 2), the True Believer Award (presented by the Cornwall Food Foundation) to Simon Burt, and finally the Most Inspirational Chef award presented to trainer chefs Stephanie Clark and Jack Bristow who was also a graduate of Cohort 5.

Commenting on the achievements of this cohort, CEO Matthew Thomson said:
“This year’s apprentices started a very long way from the job market and contended with serious personal challenges to complete their apprenticeships. They did so at a time when the Fifteen team was getting to grips with a new kitchen, menu and bar service that, together with the glorious summer, meant the restaurant broke its own records for busy-ness!
In at the deep end like never before then, these latest Fifteen grads deserve special praise and recognition for completing a huge journey – it’s been a tough and uncompromising year. This makes the achievements of those who have stayed the course all the more worthwhile. Well done guys!!”

With the end in mind, Fifteen Cornwall also recently welcomed the next cohort of apprentices to the Fifteen Cornwall Kitchen. At the event all 13 of them had their first taste of Fifteen life, preparing and serving canapés 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 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 its charity, the Cornwall Food Foundation in tackling worklessness and en-employment. Each of these graduates now leaves the Fifteen family and moves onto full time employment in some of the country’s top restaurants. Fifteen Cornwall and the Cornwall Food Foundation will continue to support them in their progression and professional career.

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