Pop-up restaurant in Cork Prison showcasing skills of six prisoners taking part in a new pilot programme

A pop-up restaurant in Cork Prison is showcasing the skills of six prisoners taking part in a new pilot programme this evening.

56 guests including 22 prospective employers from the hospitality sector will be served a specially prepared three-course meal on the prison’s B3 landing.

“The Open Door” event is a collaboration between several groups including the Irish Prison Service, Cork ETB and The Department of Tourism and Hospitality at MTU.

The six prisoners have been taking part in an intensive 8-week culinary skills course and RedFM News was invited into the prison to meet some of the men taking part in the course.

Paddy is 18 years old and will be released in the coming weeks.

He told RedFM News that he has already secured a full time job in a kitchen:

“I was working as a full time chef on the outside so it’s kind of something I’m going to pick up as soon as I am released. So I’m looking forward to getting out. Just while I’m in here, it’s a bit of a refreshment, you know, getting back into the kitchen and picking up your skills again, rather than just sitting in the cell. So it’s good, we can have a bit of a talk about what we’re making this week or what we’re doing with the lads, so it’s good.”

Speaking to RedFM News, Governor of Cork Prison Peter O’Brien says he has seen a huge change in the men taking part in the programme:

“I was watching the first day, they were inside there and they were nervous. Nervous about using knives, nervous about preparing the food, because they’re preparing the food from scratch from raw ingredients; making all the sauces and everything. And as the weeks went on their confidence developed, what happened then is they realised they could work in a kitchen environment outside; the change that it made in them.”


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