A chef from St Albans has shared how the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award changed his life for the better after the unfortunate passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Jon Watts, who served a six and half year’s prison sentence in a young offenders institute said that completing his Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE award gave him a sense of achievement and purpose.
He said: “At the time it was an achievement, I needed to do something to make use of the time rather than wallowing in self-pity.
“It helped me in so many ways, it boosted my confidence, self-esteem, build empathy and the most obvious thing that came out of it was I learnt to cook.”
Jon added that as part of the experience he learnt to cook and worked at Jamie Oliver’s restaurants where he became passionate about cooking and hasn’t looked back since.
He said: “I didn’t think I would become so passionate about working in Jamie’s restaurant but I was working with passionate chefs.
“It was like a fire being lit in me that very first day, I just fell in love.”
On hearing about the passing of the Duke on Friday, April 9, Jon said that Prince Philip, who he met on three occasions was an incredible man who had lived an extraordinary life.
He said: “I was a bit surprised, I feel like it’s only just sunk in. it’s the end of an era, whatever your opinion he was a pretty remarkable character and prominent historical figure.
“The first time I met him was at an event, and he asked if we were attached by the ball and chain and it was funny, it made me feel at ease.
“I am quite grateful to be part of his legacy.”
Jon added that his experience has helped him adapt his business during the pandemic, going from catering for events to providing recipes online and private catering.
Check out Jon’s recipes here.
To hear more of Jon’s story head to his website.