In the London prison restaurant, where convicts cook and serve food, giving them ‘a glimpse of the outside world’

At HMP Brixton, prisoners – called students – cook and serve food to the public in The Clink Restaurant. Opened ten years ago, the restaurant helps convicts gain qualifications while in prison in south London. MyLondon took a trip to the restaurant to sample the food and meet the students behind the culinary masterpieces.

One of the students told MyLondon: “It’s a good bridge to go out on. Talking to customers is outward looking and being around ordinary people gives me a little hope. You can talk to people and have different conversations like it is in the wings. just “how long are you here, what are you here for”, is one of the best things about being in prison.

The student I spoke to had no hospitality experience before starting work at The Clink. He has previously helped people with drug and alcohol addiction as a former alcoholic.

READ MORE: ‘I went to the best pub in the City of London and the steak was as good as my mum’s’

At HMP Brixton, prisoners cook and serve food to the public in The Clink restaurant

He told MyLondon: “My past is my best tool. I want to keep helping people when I go out, but here it keeps me busy.” There are 45 Clink kitchens in prisons across the country, but only two public restaurants. Students are working towards their City & Guilds NVQs in food and drink service.

Manager Joe said: “Some people may not have had a job before. I am half manager and half teacher”. Clink also helps prisoners find jobs after they leave. One of the inmates pointed to a blue gate that you can see when dining in the restaurant.

He said it was the “gateway to freedom” where people leave and told us it was “wonderful to see”. Until that day he works as a waiter to keep himself busy.

Around 30 students currently work at The Clink in Brixton and are working towards completing their training

He said: “This keeps me busy. When I go back to the cell, it’s a bit awful. It’s also good for your mental health and gives you something to do.”

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