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Lesson about fabulous fish for Fifteen Cornwall trainees

Lionel Washer leads the Fifteen Cornwall trainees on a tour of Newlyn Fish Market A group of 20 students undergoing training to join the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen in May enjoyed time away from the kitchen on Friday 24th February as they learnt first hand about the high quality and freshness of fish from Cornwall during sourcing trip visits to Newlyn Fish Market and a fish processing company in St Ives.

The students are now almost two thirds of the way through their 12-week intensive training at Cornwall College and in addition to learning the practical skills needed to work in a professional kitchen, an important part of their development involves learning about the extensive range of high quality ingredients from the local area which they will use in the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen.

Throughout their training the students are taking part in sourcing trips, meeting local food producers to gain an understanding of how ingredients are produced.

Training and development chef Fiona Were, describes how the trainee chefs are benefiting from taking part in sourcing trips to local suppliers: "Using the very best quality ingredients is at the heart of the Fifteen ethos so it's vital that our trainees appreciate the fantastic suppliers on our doorstep. Understanding how food is produced and where it comes from will help them look at some of the core ingredients they will be using in the restaurant with a fresh pair of eyes. A passion for raw ingredients is fundamental to the enthusiasm we're cultivating in the students about the food they're learning to cook."

Leading the trainees on their tour of Newlyn Fish Market was Lionel Washer, who has worked at the market for the past 25 years. Lionel said: "We're delighted to host this trip today for the pioneering trainees of such an exciting new initiative for Cornwall and we hope that they'll use the fantastic fresh fish caught in our waters to cook up great dishes that will ignite and fuel people's passion for eating fish."

Despite the early morning start and the freezing cold temperature, the trainees thoroughly enjoyed their time at the fish market. Amy Phillips, 23, from Penzance: "It's been good to come to Newlyn and get a feel for how a busy fish market operates. I was fascinated to see the variety of fish landed locally and the fast pace of all the activity going on and now I can't wait to cook some of the types of fish we've seen."

Ashley Channon, 20, from Carbis Bay near St Ives: "It's been well interesting and I've learnt a load of new things. It's taken me by surprise to see the variety and what fish look like, so many different types to see."

Sam Lounds, 20, from Newquay: "I haven't been to a fish market before – it's amazing to see how many fish there are, I had no idea so many came from the sea off Cornwall. I look forward to cooking some and showing off to my Dad!"

Phil Nanchalos, 20, from Falmouth: "Until I started at Fifteen I didn't like fish but I'm starting to enjoy cooking and eating them and I'm getting more understanding from the fish market visit today."

Emily Ratcliff, 19, from Launceston: "It's been really interesting – I now know the names of fish I didn't even know existed before!"

Chris Stamp, 18, from Falmouth: "It's been interesting, although not what I expected, I've been really impressed with the fish."

Michael Mallet, 21, from Newquay: "Amazing – learnt lots about loads of different types of fish. I've only cooked three types so far so I am looking forward to cooking more. Seafood is what I want to do in the future so this trip to the fish market has been especially good."

Andrew Harris, 19, from St Blazey: "I didn't like fish when I came here today. I've now held a huge plaice – it was all cold because they are kept on ice, but I've really found it interesting. I'll be taking a fresh look at fish!"

Don McKenzie, head of the Hotel and Catering Department at Cornwall College Camborne said: "Today has been really good to see, it has been a surprise to realise that some of our more local students knew very little about fishing and the fish market. What has been so beneficial about today – which meant students getting up early on a cold morning after an early morning return from a trip to London – is how it has heightened their awareness. This visit will help with the quality of their final cooking; they'll know more about the raw materials they are using, the skills needed to prepare them properly and their understanding – in the classroom and in the kitchen."

The trainees spent the afternoon at the St Ives fish processing company Matthew Stevens & Sons. As well as a tour of the company's purpose built fish preparation and packing facility they put into practice some of the foundation skills they've learnt at Cornwall College by trying their hand at filleting under the expert guidance of Matthew Steven's experienced filleters.

Managing director, Matthew Stevens said: "The trainees we've met today could one day end up running their own kitchens so we welcome this opportunity to show them the services we offer and share with them some top tips about how to select and prepare fish, the terms used and the right questions to ask their fishmonger. It's great that Fifteen Cornwall will be committing to using local suppliers and I'm sure that it will contribute to raising the profile of some of the amazing ingredients produced in the South West and encourage more people to try and buy what's produced close to home instead of from the other side of the world."

Foundation director Mark Scothern, said: "The trainees are making great progress at Cornwall College and the programme of sourcing trips is an important and enjoyable part of their time with Fifteen Cornwall. Developing good links with local suppliers is a key part of being a professional chef. By meeting producers from the region the students are gaining a real appreciation of how lucky they are to live in an area with such an abundance of quality ingredients and people passionate about food."

Neil Haydock, Fifteen Cornwall head chef said: "It's been my first time to see Newlyn Fish Market and it's been really worthwhile. It is fantastic to see such a wonderful range of fish – I'm looking forward to getting going and serving such fabulous fish in Fifteen. This has been the third time I've met with the students and our second visit together to view local produce. Cornwall just gets better and better the more I discover – what a fantastic place to locate a Fifteen – it's no wonder everyone is so enthusiastic."

The visits to Newlyn Fish Market and Matthew Stevens & Sons comprised the third sourcing trip that the students have taken part in, having visited Rodda's Creamery and Barwick Organic Dairy Farm earlier this month. Earlier this week the students visited Fifteen in London where they were given an impression of how a Fifteen restaurant operates in preparation for starting in their own new kitchen at Watergate Bay in May.

For further information please contact Laura Tregonning of Deborah Clark & Associates Ltd on 01872 276276 or e-mail:

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Cornwall Fifteen project through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


Editor's notes:



Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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