We had dinner in July at the Jamie Oliver Fifteen Cornwall restaurant. If you have not heard of this star of the social entrepreneurship world the basic concept is to take disadvantaged youngsters and to transform them into top chefs. The first wave of youngsters to go through the 2002 programme at the London restaurant was the subject of a very successful reality show. The selection process for the Cornish restaurant is pretty grueling. This year 300 candidates were whittled down to the 20 chosen. The concept still needs improving as Jamie Oliver has the courage to admit in a commissioned report.
The excerpt below from the Fifteen web site gives a flavor of what happened to the first cohort in London:
"Where are they now?
Fifteen disadvantaged youngsters with little or no culinary experience were taken on as apprentices by Jamie Oliver to run his original restaurant in 2002. Seven (marked below with an *) completed the course, graduated and some of them are now working in top restaurants from London to New York. Others are doing something completely different
Dwayne Working at Pizza Express
Kerryann Now has two children and is working at a supermarket cheque-out, but would like to get back into cooking
*Ralph Chef de partie at Spotted Pig, New York’s first gastropub
Johnny Has set up his own catering business in Australia
Michael Lost contact
Jules Lost contact
Nicola Lost contact
Lindsay Living in Cornwall
*Tim Chef de partie at Moro restaurant, London
*Ben Chef de partie at Theo Randall, InterContinental, Mayfair, London
*Elisa Journalist on the Daily Express
*Warren sous chef at Hope & Anchor, a gastropub in Waterloo, southeast London
Roberto working for the family business
Nicola lost contact
Jamie Grainger Smith Restaurant Manager at Fifteen
The food was good, I had an appetizer of Cornish caught squid and rock bass. All expertely executed. A tad pricey, but the profits go to the Foundation, what can you say!
The setting is really a show stopper. The restaurant was built almost on the beach of Watergate bay. During our dinner the windows were open, long boarders were taking wave after wave, the sun was slowly setting, a dream of a summer evening.
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