Home » Wagamama chefs show HMP Swansea inmates how to cook

Wagamama chefs show HMP Swansea inmates how to cook

HMP Swansea

ON THURSDAY, May 11, several professional chefs from Wagamama restaurants visited HMP Swansea to teach inmates how to cook three of their classic dishes. 

The visit involved 15 prisoners taking part in the hands-on workshop in an aim to introduce them to a hospitality workplace setting and show them skills they will need in future employment. 

The prisoners got the opportunity to prepare and cook three of the restaurant’s popular dishes: chicken katsu curry, yasai curry and bang bang cauliflower. 

They also prepared rice, salads and sauces which were served to more than 400 of their fellow inmates during lunch. 

Wagamama restaurant

The popular Japanese restaurant is working alongside the Ministry of Justice to help “break down the barriers” which often hinder ex-inmates from finding work. 

Staff at HMP Swansea and local employers also run several workshops which help train and teach prisoners some of the skills needed in jobs upon their release. 

All of the inmates who took part in the workshop were vetted for safety purposes before taking part.

One inmate, Danny Angelo, 18, said: “With a workshop, you have experience of a job and you know on the outside you’d definitely be able to do it.

Bang Bang Cauliflower

“It’s something new, it gets you out of your cell and gives you an opportunity. It helps people learn to be comfortable working, especially if they’ve been here a long time. It makes people get along and know they would be comfortable working in a kitchen.”

Taking part in the workshop has led Danny to consider working at Wagamama when he is released. 

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Another inmate said: “They introduce people to us every month or every fortnight, people from different jobs,” he said. “It’s all about knowing our options and seeing what’s available on release. The workshops help us learn new skills and learn about any grants or opportunities we can get.”

Lauren Robbin, early careers and disadvantaged group partner at Wagamama, said: “This is the ninth prison we’ve visited with the masterclasses and what we’re giving the individuals is a step-by-step of how they’d make the dishes – in exactly the same way as we would teach a new starter in a kitchen in one of our restaurants.” 

Chicken Katsu Curry

She added: It’s about breaking down barriers and making sure everyone has access to opportunities. Ensuring these guys have opportunities reduces re-offending.”

A spokesperson for Wagamama said: “Over the last 12 months, Wagamama has visited multiple prisons across the UK where we engage with men and women who are close to release. 

“We talk about Wagamama, who we are, what we stand for and the job opportunities we have to offer, alongside our apprenticeship opportunities to build on any kitchen-based education they have received from the prison. The session at HMP Swansea proved highly successful and a blueprint for further work in this space.”