8 Aug 2013

Prison inmates serve top food for culinary festival

2:58 pm on 8 August 2013

A meal prepared by prison inmates is not your average dining experience, but the Department of Corrections is inviting the public to give it a try.

The Prison Gate to Plate event, part of the Wellington on a Plate culinary festival, consists of a four-course meal prepared by Rimutaka Prison inmates under the guidance of top chef Martin Bosley.

Rimutaka inmates prepared a four course meal.

Rimutaka inmates prepared a four course meal. Photo: RNZ

Mr Bosley. who has been working with the six inmates once a week for nine months, says the dinner is the culmination of everything they've learned. "One of the Corrections officers said to me not long ago, 'Those men are walking six feet taller as a result of this whole programme'."

One of the six prisoners involved, Wolf, says he hopes the event will help improve public's perception of inmates. "It's good to be given the opportunity to show some people that we can do things," he says. "Some of us do want to change, we can change, we just need the opportunities."

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says the project has worked well and the preview dinner on Wednesday night exceeded her expectations. The department says the project highlights reintegration efforts that help the Government's aim of reducing reoffending by 25% by 2017.

The culinary festival runs for two weeks from Friday - and the Prison Gate to Plate dinners are already sold out.