Kevin first got arrested at the age of 14. "When I first went in, for about four months, I was just 18 years old and I was involved in fights and had trouble and didn't learn anything, so I kept getting put back into prison and after the forth time, the last time, I knew I had to change my life."
"The interview process was hard and it was in different stages," says Kevin, " out of about 250+ applications, they only chose 18 and they wanted to know if you wanted to and were willing to change your life around. I told the truth about my life of crime and how I wanted to change it. There aren't many opportunities like this for people like me."
Working in the professional kitchen is extremely demanding. It was the first time I had ever worked in one. It is a life full of discipline, orderliness and regulation. The Apprentices have 5 or 6 shifts in a week plus a college day to learn about theory. "A lot of people have similar stories to mine," tells Kevin, "they've not had a good start in life and have a certain background, something like this is a big change for them." But for some, its hard to cope with the hours, and they expect a few "casualties" a year.
Each Apprentice works in a section for a month, for instance, the pastry section, the fish, vegetables, colds, etc under a different chef. "Every chef has a different way of working and you have to adapt for you to take in everything and for you learn something different from every chef. They teach you everything they know, they are working to help us. Most chefs want us to learn what they know and want us to do well."
He was extremely kind, patient and helpful, showing me how he would do certain things and how he makes dishes from the menu. They have a person who washes all the dishes and utensils and cleans. Every person has a responsibility and the whole thing is a well oiled machine.
|I did these for lunch service : )|
I asked Kevin if he can do a meal of Jamie's in 30 minutes. He says, "kinda…!" and laughs with me.
"I've been in the newspaper, you know," says Kevin, looking down. What do you mean? "For the crimes I've done. I bought real shame on the family. I just want to do this for my mum and my two sisters, make it up to them for all the shit I've done in the past."
And what are your ambitions, I ask him. "To become head chef for Man United footballers."
There, he said it, he asked the universe and I hope that in years to come, with Kevin's hard work and enthusiasm, I get to report back on his dreams met.
A wonderful day spent with everyone at Fifteen - thank you for having me. I well and truly earned my rest that night, was completely but happily exhausted afterwards.
|my chef whites|
Applications are open from 2 April to 31 May this year and via the website.
To make a reservation at Fifteen, call 020 3375 1515 or book online at www.fifteen.net