Perched above the beach at Watergate Bay,  Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall is something of a top spot for watching waves and weather, and it’s great to see our restaurant team managing so well with the stresses and strains some of our customers had to endure with the floods, power cuts and storm damage caused across the country.  Resilience is the buzz word of the moment, and having seen it in practice recently in some quite severe consequences, I’ve been reflecting on what makes a resilient team.

Our ethos at Fifteen is the development of the whole person.  The restaurant exists to deliver the highest standards of professional training while coaching individual trainees to overcome their personal development challenges and life-blighting circumstances. 

It makes no sense to us to train a top-flight chef without helping them be the best person they can be too.  Our daily practice therefore is geared both to professional and personal development, and this helps breed a culture of aspiration and development across the whole workforce. 

My preferred definition of resilience is ‘the capacity of an individual, community or system to adapt in order to sustain an acceptable level of function, structure, and identity’, from Charlie Edwards 2009 Demos pamphlet Resilient Nation.  I like it because it is more about people, less about structures than other definitions. 

This reflects the way we try to work at Fifteen – organically rather than mechanically.  Starting from where people are, helping them develop a vision of where they want to be, working with them every step of the way sharing regular authentic feedback and coaching them over inevitable obstacles.  Focusing on developing the whole person is good for business, and that’s what I enjoy so much about Fifteen – a very social enterprise.

The ironic sting in the tail is that the only building that was affected by the storms was ‘Matt’s Hut’ where our resident coach and welfare manager took apprentices down to the sea wall for their intensive one to one sessions.  Fortunately he is resilient enough to be able to run those sessions in our private dining room for now.  Anyone want to help us rebuild Matt’s Hut?!

by Matthew Thomson Chief Executive of Fifteen Cornwall

Guest Blog for Tinder-Box