In 2012 Gordon Ramsey tried a start-up behind bars. . .
Gordon Behind Bars is a British television show in which Gordon Ramsay instructs cooking to convicts at Brixton Prison.
It aired on Channel 4 in four parts from June 26 to July 17, 2012.
Ramsay, a Michelin-starred chef in the United Kingdom, spends six months at Brixton Prison teaching convicts to cook and running a viable business offering services prepared within the cell to the general public.
InsideTime: Bad Boys Bakery
The Bad Boys’ Bakery in HMP Brixton was founded by Gordon Ramsey in 2012 who thought it would give prisoners ‘real life experience’, gain new skills, help get employment on release, and reduce reoffending. The bakery is now managed by inspirational tutor Malcolm and funded and supported by Novus who, for more than two decades, have been delivering education, training and facilities in prisons and currently work in around 80 establishments.
Up to twelve learners work in the bakery, with two peer mentors, at any one time. Baking is a great change from lugging bricks around or welding and the men enthusiastically set about their training and can achieve a Level 2 City and Guilds baking qualification which is recognised by all potential employers.
In the bakery, men learn how to handcraft bread using traditional skills. They soon become very proud of their products and many aspire to become bakers upon release. Local partners buy the bakery’s products, and even some national brands source bread from the bakery. It is not only bread they bake, including the popular sourdough; they turn their hands to anything from a Victoria sponge to a fully-fledged wedding cake. As well as supplying local cafes and restaurants, the men are very proud to supply the café in the visits room where family and friends can sample their wares.
Malcolm tells Inside Time: “As much as we make fantastic bread and cakes, our main source of pride is the gentlemen who work in the bakery, and who are developing their skills and turning it around one day at a time.
“We have just been granted funds by the Greater London Mayors fund, which has been matched by HMPPS. This will enable us to refit the bakery with industry equipment giving the men a more robust industry training qualification and enabling the bakery to produce more products for our partners which equals more employment for our bakers.”
Visiting the bakery, you would never guess it is inside a prison, and that the men creating all these wonderful breads and cakes are actually prisoners. Alex Head of The Social Pantry said: “I really enjoy heading into the bakery, it is a hive of activity, always lively, fun and sugar filled! It is great meeting the guys, hearing about the skills they have learnt and how baking has changed their jail time. For lots of them baking is new and they enjoy being given the opportunity to learn new skills.”
The bakery’s customers are known as ‘partners’ and are encouraged to consider employing one of the bakers on release. Malcolm says: “The quote we always have from our partners when they come to visit the bakery, after they have met the bakers and tried their cakes, is ‘so where are the inmates?’ Our reply is you have just met and talked to them!”
December 24th, 2018