If you’ve heard of Jamie Oliver then you’ve probably heard of his Fifteen Foundation – a charity that gives disadvantaged youths the opportunity to find their inner chefs and carve out their own careers in the restaurant industry.
It’s a brilliant concept that goes to the very heart of what the naked chef is all about – inspiring a love of food while giving back to the community. Fifteen Melbourne is the newest addition to the family and in fact the newest addition to the RSPCA family too – our family of Choose Wisely restaurants.
The idea behind Fifteen is that it’s community oriented. Their trainees come from the local community and so does their produce so the journey from paddock to plate is short and sweet. For us that’s one of the keys to this whole concept of humane food – understanding and appreciating where food comes from. We’ve all heard stories of city kids who think milk comes from the carton and eggs from the supermarket. It would be funny if it was an urban myth and nothing more!
So at the RSPCA we’ve long loved Jamie – for a lot more than his social conscience. He’s one of the greatest ambassadors the humane food movement has seen. An equal friend to the farmer and the customer, he’s challenged major retailers to stock higher welfare food and encouraged consumers to purchase the highest welfare product they can afford. His philosophy that you can love food and care about animals resonates with us. The concept is central to his restaurants and why Fifteen Melbourne was the perfect fit for Choose Wisely.
I recently sat down with Fifteen Melbourne’s Masato Higgs to get an insight into the Fifteen vision.
Tell us a bit about Fifteen Melbourne
Masato: Fifteen Melbourne is a community-focused and unique social enterprise that provides a highly supportive and structured environment designed to unleash the next generation of awesome young chefs. But it’s also a fine restaurant with a team of professional chefs led by our very own Tobie Puttock.
How important are humane food choices for Fifteen Melbourne?
Fifteen’s emphasis is on allowing bold natural flavours to shine and speak for themselves so having cruelty-free produce is an absolutely major aspect of our menu. Where possible, we source organic and biodynamic produce and predominantly from our local Victorian producers.
Are Jamie’s beliefs on welfare-friendly food a big influencer?
Jamie Oliver’s passion for animal welfare runs through all his restaurants so Fifteen Melbourne has always had a vision to help improve the lives of farm animals by serving and enjoying humane food.
Where do you see the humane food movement going?
Today, people around world consciously make decisions to source organic and higher welfare products – in their homes and when they dine out. The countless positive feedback attributed to this produce is not only received from our chefs but more so from our guests. The chefs in the kitchen say that these products taste better.
And why Choose Wisely?
The Choose Wisely vision is closely shared by Fifteen Melbourne. It has always been engraved into our philosophy so when we got the proposal pack for RSPCA Choose Wisely we thought it was the perfect fit.
Choose Wisely restaurants commit to serve higher welfare eggs, pork and/or chicken in all or some of their products. It’s an initiative created by the RSPCA to make it easier for people to find restaurants that serve good quality, higher welfare food. To find a participating restaurant near you visit the Choose Wisely website.