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#1 Mon 16 Apr 12 11:16pm


Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

What a lovely evening and what a lovely group. I was honoured to be able to attend this momentous event held as part of the Fifteen Restaurant 10th Birthday celebrations. … p?id=77313

                SUPPER CLUB 15th APRIL 2012

    I am sure that I am right is saying that ten years ago , this group of people would have had no idea that they would have been helping to celebrate the tenth aniversary of the Fifteen restaurant , let alone being those who would be cooking for others on this chilly April evening.

15th April 2012 was the date that some of the second group of Fifteen graduates  , Nunzio , Andrew , Terrence , Dennis , John and Thasanne came together once again as a group to cook a fantastic meal as part of celebrating the 10 years of Fifteen.

Listening to them , telling us about how their lives have progressed since they first walked through the doors of Fifteen it is obvious that thier lives  have been enriched and formed as a direct result of the training that they received whilst going through the programe at Fifteen .

The evening started with us being greeted and shown into a large room above the Fifteen restaurant. There was a huge
'L ' shaped table that was covered with red checked table cloths , gleaming cutlery and sparkling glasses with large menus standing proud between the glasses and telling us tales of the magical feast to come.

The group gathered and started to chat. There were photos strung along one wall , a reminder of wonderful and hard working times that the then trainees went through.

Sitting down at the long table we were served the meal with some wonderful Italian bread that we could dip into the fruity Puglian olive oil . This olive oil has a magnificent colour to it and poured  in good sized white dishes the vibrance of it was just lovely and the taste , even better !
This kept everyone happy whilst they chatted and before the 'Starters'  were served .

'Starters ' were a treat .
Smashed peas ,broad beans and English asparagus brushetta with mozzarella and pea sprouts. … p?id=77299
Oh I wish you were all there to taste this , a genorous amount of beautifully seasoned crushed fresh peas and broad beas sitting on the toasted bread and topped wih mozzarella that was just unctuous. Now that would have been wonderful on its own but this was crowned with thinly sliced raw English asparagus and pea shoots lifting the great dish into a magnificent dish.
(The English asparagus season has not fully started yet and this was the first tasting this year for me.)

For a main dish ,I was served, as a vegetarian, Aubergine Parmigiana. … p?id=77295
The tomato sauce that was between the aubergine layers was beautiful , sweet and prepared with great care.
I was delighted to be served this as it is a favorite of mine and it did not disappoint either as it was delicious .

Dessert was discribed as 'The Lightest Vanilla Pannacotta with Lavender Jelly , Rhubarb Compote and Smashed Honeycomb.
Now those of you wh know me will know that I am not exactly a dessert person , prefering a savoury dish to a sweet dish , but this I managed to eat very happily ! … p?id=77293
The pannacotta was beautiful. It had that 'little wobble' that gets so much talked about .
I was unsure what I would tink about the lavender jelly so this was the first element of the dish that I tried. On its own it was a very delicate flavour not very sweet and  put together with the pannacotta, became totally yummy !
The addition of rhubarb to the plate added yet another flavour dimension to the plate , I am a bit of a rhubarb fan and I was not disappointed. The lengths of rhubarb were cooked just as I like it but one of the stars for me was the little spots of the smooth rhubarb compote which were just divine , packed with flavour and which made your taste buds dance with delight.

In between the courses the Fifteen graduates introduced the dishes and also told us a littel about hemselves and how their lives had progressed since moving on from Fifteen.

Now, I hope I have remembered all this right !

Nunzio Citro ... After graduating Nunzio worked in Cecconi’s just off Bond Street, a modern day Italian restaurant  and also for Gary Rhodes . After a while he went travelling and leaving his previous self behind he went along a new path as an artist and photographer. The supper club was the first time he had been cooking in a profesional kitchen for a number of years.
Nunzio comes across as someone who is at ease with his choice in life. I am sure that I remember him saying that he had recently opened a bar, not far away from where Fifteen is situated. I must find out more about that and make a visit sometime soon.

Andrew Clements ...Andrew left Fifteen and went to work for Rick Stein in Cornwall . He stayed working for him for a period of 2 years after which he returned to London to work for Marriott Hotels and Ritz Carlton. He has also worked for various other establishments  which include , Jimmy’s Farm and the Treble Tile in West Bergholt ,
Andrew is now the head chef at Musa in Colchester  and considered to be one of the region’s most talented up and coming chefs.

Thasanee Robinson ... Thasanee is a delight , every time you looked at her she was smiling. She  has since worked in  Italy,  Bank in London, and at Market, the Jean Georges restaurant in Paris. She made the decision to do  management training and now works as General Manager for Theo Randall .

Terrence Davis ,  I was so excited to hear the news that Terrence had just become a father a few days before the supper club that I failed to make note of the places that he had worked in and simply jotted down ,'
Bank 2 year.. Holdings 4 years '
but I can tell you that he has a daughter named Dolly after a grandmother and that Dolly weighed in at 6lbs 2 ounces .. so I did remember important details  big_smile .. just not the ones I was supposed to remember ! ...Terrence now works at Fifteen as Junir Sous Chef.

Dennis Duncanson , now I have found out that Dennis when he was a trainee , went on a trip with Mr Oliver and another chef to America where they cooked a suprise birthday meal for a Mr Brad Pitt  !
After graduating Dennis rapidly 'rose through the ranks' and before long he was chef de partie at Fifteen, London he then went on to be  sous chef at the new Jamie's Italian in Kingston.
At present Dennis is responsible for new openings of Jamies Italian and Union Jacks
( taking advantage of this I suggested that he might like to see his way to opening a Union Jacks in Cardiff big_smile ..I know I am a bit cheeky, I was sad to hear that there are no Union Jacks planned for Cardiff at the moment but you never know. maybe one day ..... !)

John Relihan , I have feeling that John might have been fun as a trainee , he is bursting with that wonderful Irish charm and that charm must have worked a treat as he managed to get a whole lamb donated for this event.  He then set about butchering the lamb , removing all the bones and rolling it ready to be cooked and excitedly showed  me the pictures that he had taken on his phone of the whole process  not realising at the time I was one of the vegetarians present at the meal ! I did assure him that although I dont eat meat I do indeed cook it for my family.
John has spent time cooking in America in San Francisco and has reterned to be a Sous Chef at Barbecoa.

I knnow that I have said this before and I am sure that it wont be the last time that I mention this , but all the trainees, chefs and other staff that I have met who work at Fifteen and in other resataurants are all really lovely people.

Thankyou for a very memorable evening .

Last edited by mummza (Wed 18 Apr 12 10:01pm)

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#3 Wed 18 Apr 12 3:25pm


Jamie Oliver Food Foundation
From Jamie's Office
Member since Tue 06 Jul 04

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

Wonderful story Mumz, glad that you were able to attend. I know all of the grads well, great bunch and I am proud to call them my friends : )

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#4 Wed 18 Apr 12 3:29pm


Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

Thay are all a delight to spend time with Danny .
My lovely daughter will be writing a short piece soon so you will be able to read what she thought also.

Last edited by mummza (Wed 18 Apr 12 7:31pm)

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#5 Wed 18 Apr 12 8:38pm


Forum champ
Occupation Walking the Old Ways
From Living in the Wild Woods
Member since Wed 16 Jan 08

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

A very interesting review............I am glad to hear Dolly is doing so well!  lol

After watching the original '15' apprentices go through their growing pains on tv, it's nice to hear that the 'what happened next' to others is as good as viewers hoped it would be. Good luck to each & every one, I say!

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#6 Mon 23 Apr 12 10:09pm


From Cardiff
Member since Sat 08 Jul 06

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

Hi all, it’s Mummza’s daughter, adding to mum’s earlier post as promised.

After a full week of running around for work, friends and other things, I have finally been reunited with my laptop and I have the time to write about my visit to the Supper club which happened more than seven days ago! I apologise for my tardiness – I promise to be more prompt in future.

I’m not usually one for clichés, but the first phrase that comes to mind to describe last Sunday’s supper club is “family atmosphere”. We walked up the steps to the side of Fifteen and we were greeted straightaway with big smiles from Cesar, front of house at the restaurant, and Thasanee Robinson, one of the second year graduates. After a little milling around and a few minutes admiring the photo display on the wall which showed the graduates in their early training, curiosity pulled me towards the kitchen.  I stuck my head around the door, expecting a flurry of activity and high pressure prep work, but I was surprised to find the majority of the chefs casually leaning on the windowsill, chatting. Of course there was activity and of course there was a lot of prep, but it was much more like a reunion of old friends than a busy kitchen before service.

Nunzio Citro, was one of the first graduates to come over for a chat. Nine years after his graduation from Fifteen, he’s now a full-time artist (you can check out some of his stuff at his website and bar owner, having just purchased a premises on City Road which will soon become Alekano. He briefly explained a few of his artistic ideas to me, including the tattoo on the palm of his left hand; a tattoo of clock without hands. The tattoo had something of a colourful back story. Apparently, as a boy, Nunzio watched the classic Bill & Ted films and was very much taken with the idea of time travel and the scene where Bill and Ted cheat death. This, so he told me, fed into his already budding interest in philosophy and made him think more about time and how the meaning of time changes. The tattoo, and much of his work as an artist, grew from this.

Naturally whilst in the kitchen I also asked about the menu and Thasanee told me about how John Relihan had managed to get the lamb for the main course donated, in part by butchering it all himself. “He has photos of it if you want to see!” With little prompting John whipped out his phone to show us a picture of him with the whole side of lamb, then he swiped his way through a series of action shots as he sliced and diced – as if we didn’t believe that he really did it all himself!

After this we all sat down at the long gingham table-clothed table (which had something of a street party feel) and we were presented with a selection of breads and olive oil, shortly followed by the started. The starter was a bruschetta of creamy crushed broad beans and peas, mixed with mozzarella on crisp grilled bread. Slivers of asparagus and fresh pea shoots cut through the richness making it surprisingly light. Having only just meat my dinner companions, I did at first try to use my knife and for to slice the bruschetta and eat daintily. It did not take too long for this method to go out the window though – all bruschetta lovers know that it’s much easier to pic the thing up and get a good mouth-full!

By the time the main course rolled around, Mum and I were happily chatting to our “next door neighbours”. We actually had a bit of luck in the seating, being right next to Martin Levy of Fresh Direct who was attending with his wife and son. Fresh Direct source a great many ingredients for Jamie’s restaurants. What started as veg only soon grew into veg, olive oil, dairy products, and many other notable items such as cordials. I should also add that Martin and Fresh Direct donated all of the veggies for the evening’s meal. He and his family made for very interesting dinner conversation. I even got to learn more about my favourite sticky toffee and snickers ice creams which are currently on sale at the Union Jacks restaurants.

The main, as I’ve already mentioned was lamb - whole roasted lamb to be exact. It was first brought out on an enormous slate so that we could see it in all of its glory before it was taken into the kitchen to be sliced (into more than generous portions) and plated. This was served with a charred aubergine mash, tiny minted new potatoes and a mixed leaf and parmesan salad. As you would expect from a chef who has been nine years in the business, John had cooked the lamb beautifully. It was pink and juicy and the richness went very nicely with the smoky charred aubergine; particularly as the aubergine mingled with the gravy on my plate and took on a sauce-like quality. It was particularly well complimented by the minted potatoes – honestly the smallest and sweetest new potatoes I’ve ever eaten. In the interest of full disclosure, I will have to admit that I could not quite finish my main course though – my belly was already dangerously full and I had to save room for desert.

On paper I was somewhat sceptical of the dessert – Madagascan vanilla pannacotta with lavender jelly, rhubarb compote and honeycomb. Not being a great fan of rose water or other flower flavours, I was not expecting to like the lavender jelly when saw it on the menu. Neither was I expecting to enjoy the rhubarb compote as I have a tendency to find rhubarb a bit too tart for my tongue. I thought I would probably end up sticking to the pannacotta and the honeycomb, and eating around the rest. I will, however, have to give full credit to Dennis Duncanson; I found myself loving the rhubarb. It was the first thing I cleared from my plate, even before the honeycomb! The lavender jelly also complimented the rich vanilla pannacotta surprisingly well (surprising to me at least). It was much more delicate than I would have thought, reminiscent of my favourite Earl Grey tea. Dennis came over to say hi after desert was cleared away too and I got to learn all about how to make the perfect honeycomb. Apparently the trick is to heat the sugar to 153ᵒ, no more, no less. Then you add the baking soda and pour it straight out. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes when I do.

So, it’s probably time for me to sign off, but before I do I should of course give a little shout to everyone from the Fifteen Foundation. We got eat good food and hear the graduates’ own stories – effectively tasting and hearing about the good that the foundation does for young people. It was a lovely evening.

Last edited by LuLuBell (Tue 24 Apr 12 9:39pm)

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#7 Tue 24 Apr 12 2:22am


Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

What a fabulous post Lulubell!
Thankyou very much! I really felt like I was sharing in a wonderful meal with wonderful people! cool

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#8 Tue 24 Apr 12 10:39am


Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

I enjoyed reading it as well Joy , its interesting as it shos the same event through a different pair of eyes.
We will both be at next months graduates supper club on the 15th May so you will be able to read about that one also .

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#9 Tue 15 May 12 12:19pm


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Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

I am heading up to London again today for the next supperclub . I will try to take photos for you all and will be writing about it in the next day or so . One of my daughters will be with me so she will also be writing about it .

Lucky me !  big_smile

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#10 Tue 15 May 12 1:14pm


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Member since Fri 19 Nov 10

Re: Graduates supper clubs .. celebrating 10 years for Fifteen

thumbsup  clap  clap  clap

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