Inmates at Cork Jail have gained experience working in a live catering environment after an eight-week crash course in culinary skills ended with a pop-up restaurant event yesterday.
The pilot program was co-managed by the Irish Prison Service, Department of Tourism and Hospitality and Munster Technological University (MTU) Access Service and was designed to train and educate prisoners to improve and develop both their culinary skills and their learning in the workplace.
Guests were seated in the prison’s education unit, converted into a restaurant called “The Open Door,” and served by MTU hospitality management students into the night.
Peter O’Brien, Governor of Cork Prison, said: “I am delighted to announce the launch of this new initiative, The Open Door, here at Cork Prison. This project will improve rehabilitation and employment options for all who work and train here for years to come.
Deirdre Creedon, MTU Campus Access Manager in Cork, said: “This initiative has grown following a series of successful MTU in-prison induction lectures given by academic staff. volunteer.
“Participants wanted to learn more about cooking skills and it was great to be able to design and deliver a special purpose award that allows inmates to take advantage of learning opportunities and skills that make them more employable once released. “