Fifteen Cornwall trainees cook up a storm in college kitchen
a month into their training programme at Cornwall College,
the first year's intake of students for Fifteen Cornwall
are making excellent progress preparing for the opening of
the first Fifteen restaurant in the UK outside London at Watergate
Bay in May.
More than 300 applications were received from hopefuls at
the end of last year and after a tough week of interviews
and selection exercises with 150 of the short listed applicants,
the final aspiring chefs were chosen just before Christmas.
Typical of the students is Emily Ratcliffe, 19, from Launceston
who described her excitement at being selected: "I
was really speechless. All I could say was 'wow!'
I couldn't believe it was really happening."
Fifteen Cornwall trainee Lee Hodge, 20, from Portreath said:
"I was really pleased and felt like a new door had been
opened and this was my golden opportunity to succeed in life.
I'm so thankful that I've been given this opportunity
and I'm really going to work hard to achieve the best
possible outcome I can and make my friends and family proud.
You only get one life and you've got to take every opportunity."
The twenty trainees, aged between 16 – 24 years, have
been recruited from the length and breadth of Cornwall and
are currently undergoing a 12 week intensive training course
at Cornwall College before they start at the Fifteen Cornwall
kitchen at the end of April. "I'm absolutely
delighted by the progress and promise shown by the students
in such a short space of time", comments Fiona
Were, Fifteen Cornwall Training and Development Chef. "What's
become really evident is that that we're working with
a group of really bright kids, they're disadvantaged
by a variety of social and personal problems which doesn't
affect their ability to learn the skills they need to become
great chefs. With the right support and encouragement the
trainees have been doing amazingly well and from day one in
the training kitchen I've been astounded by how quickly
they've picked up what they're being taught."
One of the key objectives of Fifteen Cornwall is to give
young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity
to have a fresh start and turn their lives around. This becomes
evident when hearing why some of the students applied for
the once in a lifetime opportunity:
"The Fifteen course came along at just the right
time for me because I was stuck in a rut doing nothing and
before you know it a year passes so easily. I wanted to make
something of myself and make my little girl proud."
said Kieran Venner, 19, from St Austell.
"I'd seen Fifteen on TV and I've always
admired Jamie Oliver's confidence and passion and I
knew that it was something I'd love to do. I was at
a bit of a loose end when I saw the advert, I felt like I
was wasting way too much time doing very little and it seemed
like a fantastic opportunity," said Ami Phillips,
23, from Penzance.
"I applied to Fifteen because I was fed up with
doing nothing with my life. I felt like part of the sofa and
I needed to feel like I had a reason to get up and go,"
said Phil Nancholas, 20, from Falmouth.
Whilst working towards an NVQ level one in food preparation
and cookery the trainees are learning the skills needed to
work in a professional kitchen as well as experiencing new
tastes and working with ingredients that many had not encountered
before. Talking about his favourite part of the course so
far and the experience of being a Fifteen Cornwall trainee,
Ashley Channon, 20, from Carbis Bay near St Ives said: "I'm
enjoying producing amazing food, making some good mates and
enjoying what I am doing at work."
Trainee chef Sam Lounds, 20, from Newquay said: "I've
enjoyed learning new dishes at college so I can use them at
home and show my friends and family."
Zelah James, 22, from Newquay, one of the four women on
the course said: "I'm enjoying producing amazing
dishes that I didn't think I'd be able to make
– it's great."
Although their time with Fifteen Cornwall has only just
started, many of the trainees are already starting to plan
their futures for the first time. When asked what they hope
to be doing in five years time Sharon Wilson, 23, from Bodmin
said: "I hope to be fully qualified and working
towards becoming a head chef in either my own restaurant or
in a well established place. A Michelin star would obviously
be the ultimate achievement."
Trainee chef Andrew Harris, 19, from St Blazey said: "I'm
looking forward to working as a world class international
chef and working in a top restaurant. In five years time I
would like to be a head chef in a big hotel in the USA, Amsterdam
Foundation Director Mark Scothern said: "The next
year is certainly going to be an exciting one for everyone
involved. The best part is that beyond Fifteen Cornwall the
young people we're working with will be able to look
forward to bright futures where the world truly is their oyster.
Many of the trainees are already starting to think about where
they'd like to be in five years time. The students are
now beginning to consider career options that would have been
unimaginable just two months ago. We're extremely proud
Don McKenzie, Head of the Hotel and Catering Department
at Cornwall College Camborne said: "Some of the
trainees hadn't experienced a professional kitchen environment
before so they had a lot to learn in such a short space to
be ready for their placements ahead of starting in the Fifteen
Cornwall kitchen. The students have come to us with a lot
of enthusiasm and I'm confident that will help them
to do really well. Cornwall College is delighted to be playing
a part in such an exciting project. We hope that this first
intake of trainees will provide a boost to the local culinary
talent that will help to put Cornwall on the map for its fantastic
food whilst showing other young people in the county that
there are opportunities to have a great career in the catering
and hospitality industry."
After completing their course at Cornwall College in March
the students will join kitchens throughout Cornwall for four
weeks of work experience before starting at the Fifteen Cornwall
kitchen ahead of its official opening in May.
For further information please contact Laura Tregonning,
Deborah Clark & Associates Ltd on 01872 276276 or email:
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Fifteen project through
the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439