London bound for our 8th Cohort of apprentices
It was a very early start for our apprentices last Thursday who were preparing to leave for London on our annual apprentice trip. Jordan had the earliest start, up at 4am to get to Bodmin Parkway leaving from Penzance! The First Great Western train departed at 6:57am, heading London bound to Paddington. First Great Western very kindly supported our apprentices on the trip by providing complimentary tickets, which was a massive help for the Foundation. Once on the train we grabbed a cuppa and talked about the things we were looking forward to doing and seeing on the trip.
Once we arrived at Paddington our first stop was a visit to our Italian produce supplier La Credenza and the wonderful Fabio. On arrival we were greeted with an Italian smorgasbord of cheese, cured meats, olives, sundried tomatoes, to name a few! Sampling the produce we discovered full flavoured, creamy goat’s cheeses, piquant, salty, plump green olives and peppery, salamis and porchetta all of which are sourced and supplied by Fabio and his team from Italy. Wondering round the bounteous cool fridges, we discovered many interesting and inventive products including some delicious little Italian anchovies in beautiful jars, rotund wheels of parmesan piled high and salami in the shape of a pig (our personal favourite!). All in all, a fantastic and insightful trip to see Fabio and his team from La Credenza – thank you Fabio!
After a quick freshen up back at our hotel, our apprentices headed off to Regents Park for the Taste of London at Regents Park (a foodies dream festival celebrating some of the best restaurants in London). Collecting our Crowns (which is the currency you use at the festival in exchange for dishes) we all headed off to scout out the restaurants and dishes we wanted to try. Some of our apprentices came prepared with a list of restaurants they wanted to taste – there are so many, it’s hard to make a decision! One of our favourite restaurants (although maybe we are a bit biased!) was Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa – the jalapeño pulled pork with slaw and corn bread was a standalone winner, and the Barbecoa burger was out of this world. We also enjoyed several other dishes including a knock out Kerala fish curry from the Michelin star Indian restaurant Tamarind, a succulent Angus sirloin served with a spicy & sour green papaya salad and sticky rice and an exploding Amalfi Lemon dessert from the brilliant Launceston Place.
There was even time to catch up with old Fifteen family faces including Ryan from Cohort 7 and Emily from Cohort 6, both of whom were Apprentices of the Year. Emily continues to work at the River Café (where Jamie started his career), and Ryan is storming it at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa – it was great to see them both together.
In the morning it was time to pay a visit to our London counterpart, Fifteen London. On arrival we were greeted by the Fifteen London apprentices and all the staff plus a delicious breakfast prepared by the apprentices, which was just what we needed. It was good to have a proper catch up and for the apprentices to share their experiences and discuss how London and Cornwall differ.
We were then given the grand tour of the newly refurbished restaurant, which has undergone a massive re-vamp and transformation. The restaurant makeover has taken on board aspects of Britishness not only in its new menu but also throughout the restaurant interior. We loved looking through the pictures of past apprentices, and whilst doing so, spotted out very own Ben Arthur who is our Assistant Training and Development chef and was also a graduate of Fifteen London in the first cohort.
Taking a break from filming his new series, the apprentices had the chance to meet Jamie and have a couple of photos. We were also lucky enough to also have Gennaro, Jamie’s mentor with us too – it was all very exciting! It was great for cohort 8 to meet Jamie, for a lot of them Jamie is a massive inspiration, and the reason that many of them want to pursue careers as chefs.
From Old Street we set off for Borough Market, along with Gennaro who kindly offered to give us a personal tour. At the start we visited Neal’s Yard Dairy and tasted some different cheeses, we then moved into the market and moved between the various stalls including a butchers selling a variety of British meats, a stall purely selling different assortments of mushroom and finally an ice cream parlour with lots of yummy flavours to try. A massive thanks to our knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide Gennaro for showing us around.
Bellies full, and pockets stashed full of goodies from the Taste of London, we headed back to Paddington to catch our 15:06 train back to Cornwall. Another fantastic trip, there was so much to see and learn, thank you to everyone who supported the trip and made it possible.
A special thanks to:
First Great Western for donating rail tickets to our charity for our apprentices and staff to travel up to London.
La Credenza, Fabio and all his team for the delicious Italian delights and overview of his produce.
Taste of London for giving our apprentices and staff complimentary tickets to the event so our apprentices could experience some of the finest restaurants London has to offer; a very valuable part of their experience.
Neal’s Yard Dairy for welcoming us into the shop to try lots of different cheeses.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen London and all the apprentices and staff from the Foundation for the delicious breakfast and restaurant tour.
Gennaro Contaldo for being our ‘favoloso’ Italian tour guide at Borough Market.