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Alberto Crisci explains purpose behind prison fine-dining restaurant

06 July 2009 by

The manager at a new fine-dining restaurant inside a prison in Surrey, where both the kitchen and front of house is run by inmates, has revealed the motivation behind the opening.

The 50-seat Clink at HMP High Down in Sutton, which offers a two-course meal for just £6, has been created by owner Amanda Palmer-Roye and catering manager Alberto Crisci.

Crisci, a former chef at ex-Marco Pierre White restaurant Mirabelle in London's Mayfair, said the idea was to rehabilitate prisoners and give them the skills to obtain jobs on release.

"Prisoners only have to step out of line once and they are out. This is a real restaurant. I expect them to do exactly what I ask them to do," he told the Daily Mirror.
Much of the menu, which includes dishes such as griddled minute steak with sauce bearnaise, chips and herb salad, uses ingredients grown organically in the prison farm or sourced locally.

Diners must book well in advance and obtain Home Office approval and security clearance and must do with plastic cutlery for safety reasons.

While wine is served, it is strictly controlled for fear it goes missing and prison staff have to be careful about yeast, as it could be smuggled out into the cells to be used to brew alcohol.

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By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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