This Morning:Man who praised Duke of Edinburgh makes cooking debut

Man, 32, who completed Duke of Edinburgh Awards while serving a six-year sentence for stabbing offences praises the scheme for ‘saving his life’ as he makes cooking debut on This Morning

  •  Jon Watts, 32, from Reading, served a six-year sentence for stabbing offences
  •  Got bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards while serving behind bars
  • Through prison-based scheme learned to cook and rustled up meal on This Morning

A man who praised the Duke of Edinburgh Awards for ‘saving his life’ after completing bronze, silver and gold while serving a six-year sentence for stabbing offences made his cooking debut on This Morning today.  

Through the prison-based scheme, Jon Watts, 32, from Reading, learned to cook and following his release found a passion for food working in a Jamie Oliver restaurant – and now works as a caterer for private events.

And today he was given the opportunity to achieve his dream of cooking on the show – and impressed presenters Phillip Schofiled and Rochelle Humes with his chicken and prosciutto milanese.

‘It saved my life – not just changed it,’ said Jon, speaking of The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. ‘Personally, I think all young people should take part. It’s known for being quite higher class.’

‘From a rehabilitation point of view I think it should be in all the young offenders and prisons. It gives you something to focus on and helps you achieve things.’ 

Jon Watts, 32, from Reading, managed to get his bronze, silver and gold while serving a six-year sentence for stabbing offences. Pictured, making his cooking debut on This Morning today.

A Duke Of Edinburgh Award recipient recalled how the late royal filled the room with ‘laughter and relaxation’ as he met young people who had completed the scheme. Pictured, the duke attending the ceremony in 2017 

Jon explained: ‘I was 18-years-old when I went into prison and at the time, it felt like such a big sentence. 

At that moment in time, just escaping the cycle of re-offending felt like success.’ 

‘Later down the line, just getting a job was success, so to now have found something that I’m so deeply passionate about is insane. 

He continued: ‘That came from, at the beginning, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award because I needed to pick a skill section and I picked cooking.’

Jon showed the presenters his moon board which he said was something ‘very personal’ to him (pictured)

Phllip Schofield branded Jon’s dish (pictured) ‘sensational’ before praising him for finishing on time

Showing the presenters his mood board, Jon explained: ‘This is something very personal to me.’

Pointing to the pictures, he said: ‘It’s got me there, Photoshopped over Gino on This Morning cooking.

‘This is something important for me to show because there’ll be people watching this from all walks of life in similar situations to what I was, 13, 14, 15 years ago.’

‘I want people to see this and realise whatever you want to achieve you can. 

He then pinched himself and said, ‘ I think I’m here!’ 

Jon then went on to demonstrate how to rustle up a chicken and prosciutto milanese.

After branding the dish ‘sensational, Phillip Schofield continued: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh would be enormously proud of you, I’m sure. 

‘You epitomise and embody everything the award scheme stands for.’

Jon explained that it was always his dream to rustle up a dish on This Morning. Pictured, his chicken and prosciutto milanese

He went on to ask Jon what he would say to anybody who might be watching the show who might be in the headspace he was 10 years ago, to which Jon responded: 

‘Just on any opportunity you can – believe greater things are possible.  

I very much thought nothing was possible as an 18-year-old and now I’m cooking on This Morning. It’s on my vision board. 

I think believe in yourself. Self belief goes so far.’

Asked what inspired him to undergo the scheme during a previous appearance on ITV’s This Morning, Jon said: ‘I think there are so many factors.

‘The prison officers at the time had a massive impact they were supporting me and others going through it. 

‘Wanting to make my family proud, show the world I wasn’t a bad person and could make a difference’.

What is the Duke of Edinburgh awards?  

The Duke of Edinburgh awards, also known as DofE, is a  youth programme founded in the United Kingdom in 1956 by Prince Philip.

Over the last 65 years, the programme has expanded into 144 nations. 

It’s aimed at self-improvements with the royal basing the programme on ‘Six Declines of Modern Youth’ by Kurt Hahn.

At first, it was designed to attract boys who had not been interested in joining youth movements, such as Scouts, but in 1958 it was extended to include girls.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programmes take between one and four years to complete, and they must be completed by the participant’s twenty-fifth birthday. 

Participants must take part in the following: 

  • Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community.
  •  Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.
  •  Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests. 
  • Expedition: planning, training for, and completion of an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad.
  • At Gold level, participants must do an additional fifth Residential section, which involves staying and working away from home for five days, doing a shared activity. 

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