Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Jamie Oliver: “I’d never have believed we’d cook for Obama”

rexfeatures_587790h.jpg
rexfeatures_671977a.jpg
rexfeatures_1878244b.jpg

Ten years after he launched the most famous apprenticeship scheme in the country, Jamie Oliver talks to Stylist about how Fifteen changed the restaurant world

It started as a social experiment and has become a globally recognised franchise for youth empowerment. Back in 2002, before School Dinners and 30-Minute Meals, when Jamie Oliver was still just the Naked Chef from off the telly – he started a restaurant that helped underprivileged young people get jobs in the hospitality industry. Like everything Oliver tends to touch, it turned to gold, with branches opening in Amsterdam and Cornwall soon afterwards, making Fifteen one of the restaurants everyone should visit at least once.

Here, Jamie reveals Fifteen’s biggest moments in the last 10 years:

Fifteen started as… A conversation I had with a friend who had worked with underprivileged kids. I’d made a few quid from my books and I was feeling a bit guilty about the money. I wanted to give something back to the industry that had given me so much.

If you told me 10 years ago that… We’d cook for President Obama at the G20 summit with the Fifteen team, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I can’t believe… The things we did in the early days. I took the apprentices on a sourcing trip to Wales and locked us out of the minibus. Luckily, one of them was an ex-car thief so I asked if he could do the lock. Ten seconds later…

If I could do anything differently, I’d… Not have done a deal with a baked bean company early on. They gave us loads of money to put “posh beans on toast” on the menu, but we got a mullering for it. It was when there was a bloke dressed as a bean outside the restaurant that I thought, ‘This is a bad idea.’

My biggest challenge was… Paying for it. I had to guarantee my house against it, which was scary. Now it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.

I’m annoyed that… Our government won’t listen to experts about health and education. If an MP said they’d spend six months just listening to people, I’d admire it.

Photo credit: Rex Features

Related

hero.jpg

London's best ever street food

hero.jpg

Top 20 food heroines

food hall.jpg

My favourite ingredient...

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From the Beckhams' proud moment to Serena Williams' fierce posing

by Nicola Colyer
28 Jun 2017

Michelle Rodriguez threatens to quit Fast & Furious over lack of women

“I just might have to say goodbye”

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

The decision to name Mr Big was controversial, says SATC producer

It was a last-minute script choice

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017

“Why women are all beauty pageant contestants to Donald Trump”

“I bet she treats you well”

by Anna Pollitt
28 Jun 2017

Serena Williams’ reaction to her pregnancy test is refreshingly honest

Everyone needs to listen to what the tennis champion has to say

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Jennifer Lawrence proves she’s a badass dog mum when man grabs her pet

Don’t ever try to touch her dog without permission

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Amy Poehler is here to fight for your right to be an idiot

Because why should women always have to be the sensible ones?

by Moya Crockett
27 Jun 2017

OITNB’s Julie Lake on how she transforms into the delightful Angie

This is what the cast go through to inhabit their characters

by Amy Swales
27 Jun 2017

Serena Williams hits back at claim she couldn’t beat top male players

John McEnroe said Williams would be “like 700” in the men’s rankings.

by Moya Crockett
27 Jun 2017

Juror in Bill Cosby case blames victim Andrea Constand's outfit

It's 2017 and we're still blaming sexual violence on how women dress

by Elle Griffiths
27 Jun 2017