The Clink will convert a building at HMP Downview in Surrey to begin training women prisoners in May.
Funded by The Clink Charity and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) the new project will also include a 20-cover private dining room overlooking the kitchen, designed by Hepburn Associates.
The production kitchen will train approximately 50 prisoners per year, and each will graduate with recognised NVQs in food safety and food preparation, improving their chances of finding employment within the hospitality industry upon release.
Previously, food preparation for Clink Events, which launched in 2014, has been done through the restaurant kitchens. However, due to the events’ success, the charity now needs to increase capacity to keep up with demand.
The project caters for cocktail parties, receptions, buffets and dinners. Graduates of The Clink Charity rehabilitation programme serve guests at the events, having attained their City and Guilds Level 1 NVQ in hospitality.
The training scheme for the production kitchen will follow The Clink Charity’s five step rehabilitation programme (recruit, train, support, employ, mentor) and training will be overseen by general manager trainer Jonny Whitfield, and head chef trainer Christa Janse Van Rensburg.
The Clink currently runs restaurants at four prisons, and helps to cut re-offending rates by giving inmates cookery and front-of-house skills that will help them start a career in hospitality after their release.
This April the charity will launch its first project that is not inside prison grounds, in Manchester's Canada House. It will be staffed by young homeless people and ex-offenders.
The charity recently revealed its new spring menus, and is now serving vegan dishes for the first time.
Since opening in 2009 more than 800 prisoners have graduated from The Clink’s training projects, some of whom have gone on to work with high-end establishments like Aqua Shard and The Cavendish in Marylebone, as well as chains including Carluccio’s and Wahaca.