Q & A with Graduate Ami Phillips
When did you graduate from the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Programme?
I graduated in 2007. I was one of the first cohort so it was a very exciting time and it felt like we were part of something very special.
What did you gain from the experience?
I gained a lot from the Fifteen experience and if I had to pin point one thing it would be that it installed in me a sense of moral obligation to do things the right way. You don’t cut corners. There is no three second rule. As a chef you should take pride in your work and never send out anything you’re not proud of.
What was your favourite part of the course?
The best part of the course for me has to be the people I met along the way. Being part of a group of people from different walks of life but all experiencing the same intense highs and lows brings you together and creates very strong bonds.
What was the toughest time on the course?
For me the toughest part of the course was trying to balance work and family. I applied to Fifteen because I wanted a better life for my son, but it was very difficult being away from him every day and it’s a juggling act to say the least.
How have your family benefited from you being on the course?
Before being a part of Fifteen we lived a very hand to mouth existence and there wasn’t money for holidays, treats and days out. Since I learnt a skilled trade, I’ve always had work and I’ve been able to take my family abroad on holidays and do fun things like cinema nights, theme parks, days out etc…
How has your local community benefited from you being on the course?
I am a Petty Officer within Sea Cadets and am currently working at becoming a Catering Instructor within Cadets so I will be able to hopefully pass on some of the skills I’ve gathered along the way.
Do you do any volunteering?
My position within Sea Cadets is voluntary. I enjoy working with young people.
Do you use your skills to help others?
After graduating from Fifteen I stayed on as a trainer chef and saw a further five cohorts pass through the kitchen which was a great experience as I felt I could really relate to what they were going through and I obtained level 1 and 2 qualifications in mentoring. At my current job, at Relish in Wadebridge, I take every opportunity to pass on tips, recipes and skills to my colleagues and for the last two years I’ve taken on work experience students. I also like to teach my son.
Do you think this course has changed your life and the lives of your family?
My life has changed dramatically since Fifteen which has had a knock on effect to those around me. I am a different person now and Fifteen definitely put me on a whole new course in life.
What did your family think about you completing the course?
My family were all really proud of me for everything I achieved. Especially my son who read out my pass mark at my graduation up on stage with Jamie. “What did mummy get?” “Distinction!”
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying?
I would encourage anyone thinking of applying to Fifteen to go for it.
What can they expect to learn?
Apprentices will learn all different aspects of a kitchen. If you give it 100% there is so much to gain. You just have to get your head down, listen, learn, ask questions and have a good attitude.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I would love to have my own little place, focusing on good food and great coffee, with a relaxed atmosphere. Plus I enjoy working with young people so I would like to think I could pursue this further.