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16th May 2023

Wagamama teams up with prison service to train up more offenders

Written by: Edward Waddell
In partnership with the Ministry of Justice, Wagamama trained 15 prisoners at HMP Swansea to cook some of the restaurant’s classic dishes to ‘inspire’ the chefs of tomorrow.

The latest visit follows Wagamama’s commitment to running six prison masterclasses each year, in both female and male prisons to support as many people as possible into employment upon release. Last year a team of Wagamama chefs visited HMP Hatfield which proved to be a great success.  

Since the launch of the scheme Wagamama has been able to offer full time employment to 15 individuals, one of whom has taken on an apprenticeship after their first month. All of those hired had faced homelessness and unemployment upon release.  

The Wagamama team, headed by food development chef Jamie Henderson, taught the 15 prisoners to create around 450 dishes including the chicken katsu curry, yasai katsu and bang bang cauliflower. All of these dishes were made from scratch with fresh produce enabling the men to learn new skills get a true flavour for what working in a Wagamama kitchen is like. 

A Wagamama spokesperson said: “We talk about 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 was an open invitation to all men in the prison and proved highly successful and a blueprint for further work in this space.”

Over 70,000 people are released from prison each year and it is well evidenced that jobs cut reoffending and steer individuals away from a life of crime.