In 2002 celebrity chef Jamie Oliver opened his restaurant, Fifteen, in London. He recruited fifteen young apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds, hoping to give them new skills and a career by teaching them to have a love of food and a passion for cooking. The scheme wasn’t intended for any financial gain for Jamie himself and he also set up a charity, The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, that would receive all the profits from the restaurant to fund the training scheme and other food education.
In 2004 with the success of the restaurant in London, local council woman Betty Hale recognised the benefit of setting up a Fifteen in Cornwall to help with youth unemployment in the local area. With Jamie Oliver on board, Fifteen Cornwall was set up in this gorgeous beach location in Watergate Bay, just a fifteen minute drive from The Scarlet Hotel.
The venue on the beach was converted into this gorgeous bright, 120 cover restaurant with cool grafitti on the walls, bulbs like droplets hanging from the ceiling and best of all…
Large floor to ceiling windows with a view of Watergate Bay. As in London, the apprenticeship scheme was a huge success with 80% of the graduates still working as chefs.
And just like the London restaurant, Fifteen Cornwall give all the profits back to its registered charity, The Cornwall Foundation, helping to keep the scheme alive and give opportunities to local young people. I love the story and the success of the social project and I was keen to check out the restaurant for lunch on our last day in Cornwall.
As with many of Jamie’s other restaurants, there’s a big Italian influence at Fifteen Cornwall and the menu includes a selection of antipasti, salads, main courses and dessert. After tucking into some delicious bread with a perfectly chewy crust and fluffy centre served with a fruity olive oil, our selection of antipasti arrived.
A big juicy ball of mozzarella di bufala.
My absolute favourite, marinated artichokes which went very well with Fifteen’s own prosecco.
And two thick hunks of bread slathered in a delicious spicy ‘Nduja. There’s also the option to choose a good value set three course menu, which Mr S chose and received a beautifully cooked lamb dish with rainbow chard, rosemary and anchovies as a starter.
At Fifteen Cornwall care is taken to use local produce and the restaurant works closely with local farms, small holdings, fisheries, artisan bakers and distilleries so that everything is of the highest quality and flavour; you can really appreciate the care and passion that’s put into every aspect of the business. Sustainability and waste reduction is important too – they reuse as much as possible and recycle where they can.
Fifteen is also supported by the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide and makes careful use of Cornwall’s marine resources. With seafood being so beautifully fresh here, we both chose fish main courses; a perfectly cooked plump piece of line caught salted pollock served with a tasty stew of chickpeas and swiss chard and a huge dollop of aioli for Mr S.
And a delicious seafood pasta with a light oil and wine sauce and packed full of mussels and mullet roe for me. While Fifteen is pricey, you’re paying for great quality and the portions really are huge!
Feeling full we shared the dessert from Mr S’s set menu, a honey panna cotta with some gorgeous seasonal rhubarb and a delicious contrasting crunch pine nut crumble.
We really fancied a walk on the beach but with the tide coming in, the staff at Fifteen warned us that it wasn’t a great idea and suggested we pop to the Watergate Bay Hotel next door to take in the views. The owners of the Watergate Bay Hotel, local businessman Will and Henry Ashworth actually helped to set up Fifteen Cornwall and the two venues still work closely together.
The hotel itself is a large glass building with view of beach from every angle and a bar that feels like a sunny conservatory decked out like a beach house. All the beautiful glass and views reminded me a little of The Scarlet but this hotel is family friendly and provides a whole range of activities for children and a Kid’s Club.
Or you can just sit on the terrace and admire the view…
At this beautifully unspoilt little piece of heaven.
PIN FOR LATER:
On the Beach