TV chef Gordon Ramsay may be “behind bars” in his new series but he’s also behind the bleeping times – the lesser-known chefs of Western Australian prisons have been teaching prisoners culinary prowess for years.
The Department of Corrective Services has about 34 chef instructors of which eleven are chef supervisors working in prisons throughout the State. Not only do they serve 15,000 meals each day to prisoners, detainees and some staff but they also provide offenders with valuable employment skills and accredited training in preparation for their release.
If any chef-qualified foodies out there would like to experience a real-life ‘Behind Bars’ experience without the TV antics, the State’s newest prison, the West Kimberley Regional Prison in Derby, opens later this year and it will need a chef supervisor at its kitchen’s helm.
Chef and Department of Corrective Services Catering Manager Gary Milverton said working as a chef supervisor was a challenging, rewarding, incredibly unique experience.
Gary, who oversees the standards of the State’s prison kitchen practices, said he expected interest from some “seriously experienced” chefs.
“To be frank, I’d go for that job if my wife would let me move!” he said. “It’s good money and good hours as there are no night shifts but best of all the kitchen and tools will be brand new and there’s some fantastic natural light in the kitchen to work in.
“Chefs have a lot of autonomy and can devise their own menus in collaboration with management and through the guidance and advice of a qualified dietician. There will be an interesting edge to the food in Derby with an Indigenous flavour to many recipes as the prison is specifically designed for Aboriginal prisoners from local lands.”
Gary said that while being able to cook was “probably a good start”, the role of the chef supervisor was also one of mentor.
“I expect there will be an interesting exchange of ideas between prisoners and chefs but the job will involve a lot of training and guidance in the kitchen,” he said. “We need a good communicator, someone with a really broad knowledge base, experience with large-scale catering and a genuine desire to make a positive difference in these prisoners’ lives. If you have overseen a few apprenticeships I expect that will be an advantage.”
The work will be based in Derby, a region in far north Western Australia about 220 km north east of Broome and 2,500 km north of Perth. There will be a number of opportunities to become involved in the community, including in the role as chef supervisor. The Department often shares its kitchen facilities and catering services for the benefit of those in need in regional areas.
The West Kimberley Regional Prison will officially open in November, but applications for chef supervisor will be accepted from this weekend, with advertisements in newspapers and online at www.jobs.wa.gov.au. The prison will be the first of its kind in Australia, with its design and operating philosophy premised on Aboriginal culture and values as far as possible.
For more information contact Media and Publication Officer Kim Smee on (08) 9264 1838 or email@example.com