A CHEF who trained at Jamie Oliver`s Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall has been found hanging from a tree a few miles from the famous restaurant.
Christopher Pethick, 20, was found dead in woodland just 18 months after securing a place on the Fifteen training programme.
In May 2006 he became one of 21 young cooks chosen out of 300 hopefuls who applied to work in Fifteen in Watergate Bay, but just two months later he dropped out of the course due to "severe depression".
His father Robert spoke of how the family had hoped the training scheme would give troubled Christopher the chance to make a new start in life.
He said: "We were very proud of him when he joined Jamie Oliver. He wanted to finally make a difference and for the first time ever he seemed to have some go in him.
"He kept out of trouble and kept his head down. He was camping at a site near the restaurant and said this was his chance to turn his life around.
"But after a couple of months, he started to get restless and ran away. We didn`t see him for a couple of months.
"And the past year he has been like a lost soul. He has been suffering from depression. He was a troubled lad. I`m sure he wasn`t proud of things he was involved in."
Robert added: "He was a joker and a lot of fun. But he had a troubled side. Everyone knew him but that`s because he could be your best friend one minute and the next he could be an absolute pain."
Staff at the restaurant have been left "devastated" by the news, according to Fifteen chief executive David Meneer.
He said: "He was one of the pioneering gang we took on when we opened in May 2006.
"A couple of people who taught him were knocked for six on the weekend. It`s a pretty tight community in the Watergate Bay kitchen."
Sam Lounds, who was on the same chef training scheme as Christopher, said: "He was a nice guy - he was just a bit confused really. He had been in and out of trouble.
"He was one of those lads that wanted to be cheeky and have a laugh with.
"I think it`s a shame. He was only 20. This course has helped me but for other people it hasn`t."