Custom House apprentice chef cooks up a storm with Jamie Oliver

A budding chef from Custom House has been cooking up a storm on a Jamie Oliver apprentice programme.

Mercy Taembo is one of 18 youngsters on the 12-month course for 18- to 24-year-olds, which runs at the celebrated TV chef’s Fifteen restaurant in Westland Place, Shoreditch.

The 20-year-old said: “It is very action packed.

“We are always busy.

“There is not a moment to rest.”

During the hectic schedule, Mercy has worked alongside professional chefs at Fifteen, as well as Jamie Oliver himself.

“I feel very fortunate to have worked with Jamie,” said Mercy.

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“He is very down to earth and makes everything very clear.”

The intensive programme also includes a qualification in Professional Cookery and courses in personal development.

Mercy said it has been hard at times staying focused but she had learnt a lot and now had much more confidence.

Her highlights of the course so far have included working with Jamie at his Barbecoa restaurant in St Paul’s and helping out the Food Team, which puts together recipes for Jamie’s book and TV projects.

The teenager said learning to work with new people had been the main thing she had got from the course as well as discovering different types of food.

“I like risotto now,” said the aspiring chef.

“And I love squid and mussels and even beetroot!”

The Custom House youngster is happy to show off her cooking skills for her family who she often entertains at her flat.

As for the future, Mercy is looking forward to completing her course and would love to live abroad and continue to work with food.

Fifteen is currently seeking its next intake of apprentices.

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