Two more of Jamie's inspirational friends have spoken about how excited they are to be running the torch relay next week in London.
Part of the team taking the torch through the host city are Danny McCubbin, Communities Editor for Jamie's web team and a truly hard-working ambassador for the Jamie Oliver Foundation and Sandeep Channa who tirelessly teaches at Jamie's Ministry of Food in Stratford.
Danny will be taking the torch through St Pancras station past the famous John Betjeman statue on Thursday. He said: “It's a huge honour for me and a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm just as proud of running with the torch as I am about the fact my colleagues voted for me.
“I am one of the lucky ones that has been here since the first group of graduates all those years ago and I hope this helps keep the Foundation's flame burning as brightly as it has for this last decade. I'm really proud to be an ambassador for the foundation. Jamie is one of the hardest working people I know but his drive and passion and sense of fun shines through and is a true inspiration and to be a part is truly magical.
Sandeep Channa (26) is taking the torch through Lewisham on Monday and was given the opportunity to do it for her amazing work as a full-time teacher at Jamie's Ministry of Food in Stratford, East London.
Sandeep said: “It's just great to be running close to where I work and live. I think it will really hit home on Monday morning about how exciting this is.”
When – Wednesday 27th June
Where – Ingoldmells
Who – Daisy Kilbon is a Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills student at the Peele Community College, South Lincolnshire. Daisy is a Year 9 student and has had a great number of knock backs in life. She is part of the pre foundation learning group to which Jamie’s Home cooking is a part of, which she has passed with flying colours. Daisy is always the first to support and help others in the group, she is a great team player and when the washing up needs doing, she is always there. When her teacher spoke to the learners about this fantastic torch opportunity, Daisy was the first who said she really wanted to do it. Some kids need a bit of luck in their life, and Daisy is definitely one of those students.
When – Saturday 30th June
Where – Walsall
Who – Luke Cornforth is a Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills student at Grace Academy, West Midlands. Luke has a Statement of Special Education Needs to support him. He has moderate learning difficulties which are exacerbated by the fact that Luke suffered a brain infection in January 2009 that left him hospitalised in the Birmingham Children’s Hospital for many weeks. As a result Luke experiences epilepsy and has found the return to school very challenging. The one constant in Luke’s return to school has been his enjoyment of the Food Practical lessons. In September he had very few skills and had little, if any confidence when in a practical environment. Now, Luke understands basic culinary terms and can cook with a much reduced amount of guidance from staff. Above all, he really enjoys the lessons, he is passionate about taking his products home and we have seen him blossom. It would be a fantastic achievement for him to participate in any aspect of the Olympics especially as he comes from a home in a severely deprived area of the country and has probably never ventured much further than Birmingham.
When – Thursday 5th July
Where – Wickham Market
Who – Kate Kilburn has been delivering Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden pilot at Orford Primary School single handedly for three years. Through this work Kate has been teaching children how to cook and grow their own food. Her constant energy has made a huge difference to children’s lives giving them a food education that will remain with them for life. Kate’s dedication means she has spent a lot of her own time selecting recipes, planning lessons, sourcing and buying all the ingredients she needs. Thanks to Kate when children leave Orford at eleven they can prepare a three-course meal, fillet a fish, skin a chicken and tell you all about seasonality and sustainable food while they do it! As well as these crucial life skills Kate is also boosting the confidence of many children through their achievements in the kitchen and engaging many less academic children in learning. She really is making a difference to the health and well being of our future generation.
When – Saturday 7th July
Where – Newport, Essex
Who – Jamie Oliver is a phenomenon in the world of food. He is one of the world’s best-loved television personalities and one of Britain’s most famous exports. Jamie has had huge success with television series The Naked Chef (BBC), Jamie’s Kitchen, Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie’s Great Italian Escape, Return to School Dinners, Jamie’s Chef, Jamie at Home, Jamie’s Ministry of Food and more recently Jamie Does…. and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (ABC), as well as the one-off specials Jamie’s Fowl Dinners, Eat To Save Your Life and Jamie Saves Our Bacon (all for Channel 4).
The high street restaurant collection Jamie’s Italian is hugely popular across the UK and the Fifteen restaurant group which he founded in 2002, continues to provide training for young people in four locations around the world as well as producing food of the highest quality. The Jamie Oliver Foundation meanwhile is currently working in communities in the UK, USA and Australia to educate, empower and engage people to love good food through cooking with fresh ingredients.
Jamie lives in London and Essex with his wife Jools and their children.
Abigail Grainger is a Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills student in Year 10 at Alfriston School, Amersham Bucks – a special needs school for pupils with learning difficulties. Abi has an infectious enthusiasm for everything she does and cannot help but pass this on to her friends, family and peers. She epitomises what the home cooking skills programme is about, having embraced the course immediately, sourcing recipes from home as well as learning and perfecting the necessary skills to meet the challenges of the course. Abi rapidly gained confidence using her knowledge and skills to create healthy meals in order to support her sporting lifestyle. Abi battled ill health throughout the course but never let this affect her learning. Her enthusiasm for cooking using fresh ingredients and the recipes provided by Jamie Oliver began to have an effect on her family; persuading them to reduce the frequency of ready meals and adopting a healthier diet. The culmination of her successful course was the creation of a family recipe book that can be added to and passed down through the generations. Abi is a perfect ambassador for the Jamie Course, her enthusiasm and love of life would make her a proud role model for other teenagers with special needs.
Lawrence Kessey is a Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills student at Gladesmore Community School, Tottenham. He has been nominated due to his dedication, hard work and enthusiasm throughout the course. He has worked very hard both in school and at home to practice the skills needed to pass the course. Lawrence has changed his attitude to his food lessons since Year 8 when, although he enjoyed cooking he could be a little disorganised. This year he has taken recipes to practice at home so he was organised and prepared for each lesson. He has taken the perfection of skills very seriously in order that he gained a PASS. Lawrence is a cheerful student and likes to help others especially now he feels more confident in his abilities. He embodies what this course is about. He will go on to use the skills he has gained – not only practically but also in his knowledge of healthy eating and using fresh ingredients.
Sandeep Channa is Head of Community Work at Ministry of Food Stratford. Sandeep has always been passionate both about food and her community. As a little girl in Newham, she helped with school lunches, at 14 she helped older people prepare food from different cultures, and as a 6th Former she helped people with learning disabilities. She went on to study nutrition, all-the-while working every weekend for 6 years in a local supermarket. Sandeep joined NHS Brent, where she could be seen carrying large boxes of food from one children's centre to another- once in the middle of a blizzard! Today she is a star cook in Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Stratford, using the same kitchen she cooked in as a 6th Former. She shares with everyone her infectious can-do attitude, her strong focus on value “because Newham people don’t have too much money”, her friendly smile that opens everyone’s heart, and, her passion for cooking food.
Danny McCubbin is the Communities Editor for jamieoliver.com and has been with the company for 8 years. Danny lives and breathes the Jamie Oliver brand. He extends himself to help others both at work and through extensive extra-curricular volunteer activities ranging from running Supperclubs to raise money for the Jamie Oliver Foundation to mentoring students and graduates from Fifteen. Outside of work he also mentors young people from the Global Changemakers programme and he has volunteered at charities including Food Chain and San Patrignano in Italy. In November he will be running the New York Marathon (for the third time) to raise funds for the Jamie Oliver Foundation and in 2011 the Fifteen apprentices voted Danny the most inspirational and helpful staff member. Danny cooks healthy balanced lunches for the entire Online Team Monday-Thursday, no matter how busy he is, and actively supports Jamie's Ministry of Food and other initiatives to get people interested in cooking. Danny always goes above and beyond to support any area of the Jamie Oliver Group that he can.
John Relihan – Fifteen’s Apprentice Programme, Class of 2004. The first time John ever got on a plane was to apply for Fifteen’s Apprentice Programme. He’s originally from Ireland. Whilst on the training programme, John demonstrated good kitchen skills. He was always keen and willing to learn. He showed a great attitude towards his peers and the various jobs he was given to do. We knew from the onset that John had what it takes to become a very good chef. Becoming a distinction student! John then worked in some top restaurants and then travelled, working at restaurant Incanto in San Francisco among others. He is now working as a Senior Sous Chef in Jamie Oliver's restaurant Barbecoa, London.
Dennis Duncanson – Fifteen’s Apprentice Programme, Class of 2004. Dennis demonstrated really good kitchen skills when he was an apprentice. He was confident and hard working but sometimes required ‘guidance’ but learnt straight away. He was always keen to offer help to others. When we first heard Dennis’ name, it was always with the pre-fix ‘done time for joy-riding’. Although from a loving background, he clearly hadn’t grown up with structure and role models and it wasn’t clear if his time at Fifteen was going to be beneficial. We saw Dennis both physically and mentally beaten up and have seen him bounce back, with humour, respect and hard, hard work time after time.
Kevin Crowley – Fish Blockman, Fifteen London (volunteer). We first met Kevin when he was tasked to deliver a ‘fishmongery’ workshop to 18 eager apprentices at 5AM in a very cold Billingsgate Market. He said the encounter had awoken his enthusiasm for what he does and he had learnt so much from the apprentices themselves. After this, Kevin wanted to give something more back. He now volunteers his time 3 days a week training the apprentices in ‘fishmongery’ skills. This is in addition to working over 60 hours a week (nights) at his paid job. He works brilliantly with our apprentices. He is supportive and encouraging imparting his knowledge and skills to them. He is passionate about his trade and wanting to make a difference to young people’s lives. He is an absolute asset to the Fifteen team!
Nikki Giles – Assistant Programme Manager, Fifteen. Nikki has been working at Fifteen for over 3 years. In that time she has worked tirelessly to improve the programme and offer an abundance of opportunities for the apprentices to enhance their experience. She is the first person they go to when there are issues they are struggling to deal with. She offers words of encouragement but also has a ‘can-do’ mentality that means they are supported to deal with the challenges before them. Without her caring approach, many of the apprentices would fail.
Jodene Jordan – Fifteen’s Apprentice Programme Class of 2005. Jodene started her time at Fifteen as an apprentice. She worked hard over the 18 months to graduate. She worked on a number of ‘promotional’ activities demonstrating the skills she had learnt to try and ensure on-going funding for the Fifteen project. Close to graduation, Jodene realised she was pregnant and soon gave birth to a lovely son, Zak. Jodene continued to work at Fifteen in the kitchen supporting the next intake of apprentices. She was then the first person to complete a graduate training programme as a trainee ‘Procurement Assistant’. Realising that she still loved cooking, Jodene moved to the Jamie Oliver Food Team and is intrinsic to the delivery of Jamie’s recipes! She is a positive role model that acts as a mentor to the apprentices. In particular, she provides guidance and support to young Mum’s filling them with inspiration to be able to juggle motherhood and the challenges the programme provides.
Angela Morris – Marketing and Commercial Manager, Jamie Oliver Limited. Ange has worked with Fifteen since the first day the restaurant opened nearly 10 years ago. She is the oracle of Fifteen’s impressive history and has been influential in all aspects of Fifteen’s development to a successful restaurant with over 100+ graduates. Ange goes above and beyond her role to ensure that the charity is focussed on its objectives. She is supportive and encouraging to her peers but also is a champion of the graduates. She embodies everything that is wonderful about Fifteen and she is a great ambassador for the programme.
Tedros Hagos – Fifteen’s Apprentice Programme, Class of 2009. Tedros has overcome enormous personal difficulties to get where he is. He was granted asylum in the UK after fleeing from imprisonment in Ethiopia, following forced conscription into the army. Tedros arrived with nothing, lived in a church and is still unable to contact his family through fear for their safety. Remarkably he never uses his background as an excuse or barrier. Tedros has a natural ability in the kitchen and a thirst for learning. Tedros excelled in all areas of the apprenticeship gaining a Distinction! Tedros has a natural positive attitude and shows respect to everyone he encounters. He has been working at restaurant Coq d’Argent for the last 2 years and now oversees the training of his own apprentices. He is an outstanding example of a young person who has overcome great obstacles and grasps every opportunity to achieve his goals.
Lloyd Hayes – Fifteen’s Apprentice Programme, Class of 2005. Lloyd is a graduate from the Class of 2005. He is very honest about the challenges he’s faced and how he’s turned his life around. Since graduating, Lloyd has continued to volunteer his time as a positive role model to the next generation of apprentices. His career has always been charity and social enterprise based working with Crisis and Acorn House to now being Head Chef at The Waterhouse training young people to become professional chefs. Every year, he has donated his time to take a group of graduates to San Patrignano in Italy and replay a positive message to other ‘troubled’ people with a positive and inspirational story.