Story by Wendy Richmond

Fifteen young chefs graduated on Monday 28th September from the London apprenticeship scheme run by the Fifteen Foundation. Friends, family and supporters gathered to celebrate the group’s achievements at an evening ceremony at Christ Church Spitalfields. The event was an extra special celebration because it is a record year in terms of trainee retention and achievement. It is also the first year that the scheme has been shortened to 12 months instead of 18.

Fifteen offers young people, often in need of a break in life, the chance to transform their lives, encouraging them to realise their own potential through the experience of learning to work in the restaurant business.

Fifteen Foundation Chief Executive Penny Newman says: “We are very proud of the class of 2009. Their hard work has paid off and it is really pleasing to see them setting off on their chosen paths. Nearly half of them were offered jobs during their work placements and the rest of them are working hard to gain employment. Each person has been on an amazing journey and we hope that they keep in touch with the Fifteen family as they pursue their new found careers.”

Each graduate was presented with a Fifteen dog tag and certificate by Executive Head Chef Andrew Parkinson and Jamie Oliver’s good friend and mentor Gennaro Contaldo, who also works with the Fifteen apprentices every year.

More than 141 apprentices have been recruited to date through the Fifteen chef apprenticeship scheme at the flagship restaurant in London, of which 82 (63%) have graduated. The course comprises 30% college attendance and 50% restaurant shifts, with the rest of the time given over to welfare support and other supplementary support, including trips to Fifteen’s producers.

To see more of Fifteen’s class of 2009 visit Fifteen’s YouTube channel

Congratulations to the graduates:

Owain Atkinson
Grade: Merit
Work placement: The Fat Duck
Now working as Chef de Partie, Chez Bruce

Julian Bailey
Grade: Merit
Work placement: The Vineyard at Stockcross.
Now working as Pastry Chef at Fifteen.

Claire Braine
Grade: Pass
Work placement: River Cottage
Currently doing trials

Steven Estevez
Grade: Pass
Work placement: Odette’s
Now working as Commis Chef at Plateau, Canary Wharf

Morgan Evans-Dixon
Grade: Distinction
Work placement: The Ritz
Offered a job at the Ritz which he is considering

Tedros Hagos
Grade: Distinction
Work placement: Coq d’Argent
Currently working as a Commis Chef at Coq d’Argent

Paul Lacey
Grade: Merit
Work placement: Theo Randall at The InterContinental Park Lane, Mayfair
Currently in discussions for a full time position

Trina Lewis
Grade: Merit
Work placement: Moro
Subsequently has worked at Fifteen at Harvest at Jimmy’s and at Fifteen stand at Finsbury Square Farmers Market

Daniel Parish
Grade: Pass
Work placement: St. John’s Restaurant
Currently doing trials

Elliot Roche
Grade: Merit
Work placement: One Aldwych
Currently doing trials

Marvin Robb
Grade: Pass
Work placement: Gaucho, Bishopsgate
Currently doing trials

James Santrey
Grade: Merit
Work placement: Plateau, Canary Wharf
Currently work as Commis Chef at Plateau in Canary Wharf

Sandy Simmons
Grade: Merit
Work placement: Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire Currently worked with Fifteen at Harvest at Jimmy’s Festival and at Fifteen stand at Finsbury Square Farmers Market

Chantelle Townsend
Grade: Pass
Work placement: Loch Fyne, City Branch
She has decided to pursue a career in fishmongery

William Turpin
Grade: Merit
Work placement: Nahm
Currently doing trials

About the author:
Wendy Richmond is the Communications Manager for Fifteen Foundation

About Fifteen: Fifteen’s purpose is two-fold: firstly to offer young people, often in need of a break, the experience of learning to work in the restaurant business and second for our customers to enjoy fantastic food and knowledgeable customer service. The restaurant is the trading arm of a registered charity, Fifteen Foundation (no. 1094536), and all its profits go towards a pioneering restaurant apprenticeship scheme.