AS ONE CHAMPIONS drives at uncovering impactful projects; Peeling back the layers to reveal the amazing people striving forward, all the lessons learned along the way and whats up next. As a community we're all about uniting positive, ambitious and innovative characters.

Read on, soak up these AS ONE CHAMPIONS, connect the dots and engage.


1. Tell us about yourself.

I am head sommelier at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, which is a non-profit organisation which trains underprivileged young people in the kitchen as chefs. My role is wine buyer and training of the staff and wine team in all thing vinous at the restaurant here in Cornwall. I absolutely believe here at fifteen that we are a sum of all our parts. We have a welfare team, college team, chefs, waitress, sommeliers and it really is together that the magic happens. I feel privileged to be a part of it, part of our fifteen family. 

2. What is your deep reason for choosing the path you're taking? Your "why"?

I had never really been career driven, I preferred to be free of the constraints to which this may have inhibited my traveling or lifestyle. When I came to fifteen for an interview I just wanted to work in one of the best restaurants in the southwest and to put all the experience I had into somewhere where I could learn and develop. On the day of my interview my boss suggested wine as a career pathway it was there the seed was planted. What I love most is the breaking down of barriers in the idea of wine and what it offers, the story, the creative input, the tasting and the opportunity’s that it gives me too learn. I not only have found something I love I found my vocation, this is something that isn’t something you do it’s something you feel. 

3. What is the big dream, or legacy you're creating?

Lots of the opportunity’s that came up the diploma, the job as head sommelier came at a time when both my children were young and like any parent I had a huge element of guilt and feeling selfish but this quickly changed into a feeling of empowerment and I try to channel this into the passion I have for my job and what we do here at fifteen Cornwall. What better message than to teach my girls the ability to not only dream big but to fight for what you want and to push for what you believe in. So perhaps my dream is not only to help enthuse by hopefully inspiring them but also for others to help others in this industry for them to dream big. 

4. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? and at what age would this be?

This is a tough one as although I am fully aware of the mistakes that I have made in the past I would suggest that they have all no matter how bad or good have led me to the path that I am on today. Without learning from these experiences I may not have the same feeling of gratitude for the things I have achieved. Getting to this position has been hard work at times and I have had to keep a clear mind of the goals I wanted to achieve, but it is defiantly paying off. The study the balancing of everything has been challenging at times to say the least but so many times I look at how far I have come and can’t help but smile. But my advice would be relax enjoy the moment you sometimes don’t get enough of them.

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5. What companies/projects inspire you?

I think that companies like crowd funder are amazing in helping people achieve their dreams and goals, breaking down the barriers of the old format and encouraging leaps of faith whilst pulling in local support from small communities around the country. Besides that it’s great that they choose Newquay to be the epic centre of this. Amazing. But when it comes to wine it’s all about the provenance, the dialogue and the reasons that they create what they do and ultimately if it tastes good.

6. What does your industry/cornwall/location need to see more of?

Pride, our industry needs more pride not just on the kitchen but in the front of house to be assured that it’s a job which can afford you many things but in reality is still seen not professional. It would be great to see this change and for people to be proud of what can be achieved. We are so lucky that in Cornwall we have an understanding for the most part of being somewhere truly beautiful that supporting local is the way to go and to have amazing customer service would be a key development in this. 

7. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on now?

Ohh I have a few things in the pipeline and maybe in danger of saying to much but watch this space. Also we are doing lots of demo for the food festivals which has been great so keep a look out for these. I would love to be able to take wine to a greater audience maybe do some presenting to break down the way we enjoy wine, the uncorked wine club has been great at getting people to come into fifteen and enjoy wine on a different level.

8. What problem in the world do you see that you’re fixing? 

Stereotypes maybe by what I do and how I am, I think naturally that this breaks down a stereo type of people in this industry. But ultimately there is a small world which I occupy away from work which is being a mother and hopefully in their eyes I help to fix things all the time, little things but hopefully I help fix them and this means the most.  

9. If you could go back, what's one thing you would have done differently? 

Nothing, bit of a boring answer but you have to take the rough with the smooth and all that is has led me to here, so I couldn’t change any of it.

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10. Who has been the most help to you along the way? And why?

Well I guess here I would have to say probably that Fifteen Cornwall was what has opened the doors to my in unlocking my full potential and to that I would owe it to Polly Dent she is the one who has given me these opportunity’s and she is the one who saw that potential. And also my family for supporting me and giving me the chance to follow my dreams.

Contact Elly this way - 

If people would like to come to some of the uncorked wine events please follow the www.fifteencornwall.co.uk/uncorked to see what we have planned for the new year which is lots of exciting tastings and soon to follow newsletters. 

But please if you want to contact me follow me on Instagram and twitter @ellywinowen