Recently, our Head chef Anthony and Head pâtisserie chef Alex spent a day at The Clink in Brixton… but it’s not as it sounds! The Clink is a charity and group of restaurants that work alongside Her Majesty’s Prison Service to rehabilitate prisoners and ex-offenders in order to reduce rates of re-offending. Many offenders have no family, no money and very few perspectives when they leave prison and this is something The Clink wants to change.
The program allows individuals, whilst in prison, to develop the practical skills and expertise they need to have a fresh start and build a career in hospitality upon release. Prisoners are thrown straight in at the deep end – with many of them never having cooked before in their lives, they are required to produce dishes for up to 30 diners at a time! Inmates may also work towards awards and are given a point of contact to help them get on their feet when they are released. Their allocated mentor will help them organise transport, open bank accounts and buy chefs uniforms, all of which is a huge help in rehabilitating them and easing them into the outside world. In fact, the majority of inmates who train in the restaurants leave prison with their very first jobs, which is incredible!
Our chefs, Anthony and Alex, were lucky enough to be invited to share their expertise and train 10 Clink prisoners to create two delicious dishes: a main course of cod served with clams and a saffron broth and a chocolate torte with mascarpone and a sprinkling of berries and edible flowers for dessert, enabling inmates to experiment with a whole host of new ingredients and show off their new skills preparing seafood and making pastry. Both dishes were then served to a restaurant of very happy, smiling customers who loved every bite – win-win! Anthony and Alex visited The Clink in Brixton, and whilst there are three other Clink restaurants in the country in Cardiff, Surrey and Cheshire, Brixton is the only restaurant situated in the grounds of the prison where customers actually eat within the walls of a HM Prison!
To book a visit to The Clink or find out a little bit more about this amazing cause, click here.