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Bermondsey youth scheme to cook up a storm

A Bermondsey café owner launched a professional cookery course for local youngsters last week at a special event attended by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc.

Mike Donovan decided to open the Bermondsey Community Kitchen after looking out of his Duns Deli window down the Blue and seeing young people with “nothing to do and nowhere to go.”

The kitchen will give trainees a chance to learn new skills and receive a Level 2 City and Guilds qualification in professional cookery, setting them on their way to a new career.

He said: “They all want to be rich and famous or footballers, so I show them Jamie Oliver, who’s a millionaire, or Delia Smith, who runs a Premier League football club. This is what is possible if they work hard.”

Renowned chef Raymond Blanc attended the opening and gave a passionate speech about the power of cooking.

The Michelin star chef said: “It is always humbling to see people come together like this. Good luck to these young people, who have an amazing opportunity.

“Food is about connecting with people, connecting with family, with history, with landscape. It is about fun!”

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle was also in attendance. He said: “It was brilliant. I spoke near the end but it can’t be very often that you get upstaged by Raymond Blanc! What an opportunity for these kids. I was talking to one of the trainees who said that he was so used to people saying no to him and now he has this chance – how brilliant is that?”

For more information about the Bermondsey Community Kitchen visit their website at



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