Ex-offenders and young people create Clink Charity Ball 2016 menu

23 December 2015 by
Ex-offenders and young people create Clink Charity Ball 2016 menu

The Clink charity, which operates public restaurants within prisons across the UK, has enlisted ex-offenders, vulnerable young people, apprentices and trainee chefs to create the menu for its inaugural January Charity Ball.

The event will be held on 15 January at the Lancaster London hotel and will see the Clink's executive head chef Ben Purton working alongside graduates from its prisoner training programme, and young people from homelessness charity CentrePoint.

Students from Lambeth College, the University of West London, and Westminster Kingsway College, as well as apprentices from the Lancaster, will also be helping to cook and serve on the evening.

The menu is set to include locally sourced produce, including meat from HM Prison farms, and vegetables and herbs from the Clink gardens at HMP Send. There will also be salmon smoked in-house at the Lancaster, and cheese from its 40-mile radius cheeseboard, and canapés created from the Clink's new canapé cookbook, including mushroom and Stilton tartlets, and mini Yorkshires with beef and horseradish.

All the bread rolls will have been freshly baked by HMP Brixton prison's Bad Boys Bakery, which helps to train prisoners in bakery skills.

Tickets for the evening cost £130 per person from the event's website, with a table of 10 available for £1,200. The hotel will also be offering rooms on 15 and 16 January for £139 including breakfast.

Purton said: "Developing young people is at the heart of our core values, so we are looking forward to welcoming the budding chefs into our kitchen to pass on as much knowledge as we can in the time that we have together. I look forward to hearing their stories and learning from them too. It is going to be a very special night."

The Clink runs four operational restaurants open to the public at prisons comprising HMP Brixton, Cardiff, High Down and Styal.

Set up as a scheme to help train prisoners in hospitality, in a bid to give them useful skills once they are released and reduce the risk of their reoffending, it has reached very high standards, including the 96-seat HMP Cardiff being voted the city's best restaurant on online review website TripAdvisor in February, and achieving the highest possible rating of three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

It also has a group of high-profile chef ambassadors, including Albert Roux, Cyrus Todiwala, Giorgio Locatelli and Antonio Carluccio.

The Clink hopes to launch second prison restaurant in Cardiff >>

Albert Roux named the Clink chef ambassador >>

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