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Monday, 22 December 2014

Biker praises prison smokery

CELEBRITY chef Dave Myers has praised a catering venture at Haverigg prison.

The Barrow-born, Hairy Bikers’ star was among the visitors to an open evening at the jail’s smokery.

Guests from catering and retail were invited to sample the produce and see the smoking process.

The prison featured in last year’s Hairy Bikers Christmas special.

Mr Myers, who attended the event with partner Liliana Orzac, said: “We came to film in a prison because we thought it would be interesting and because the products are absolutely first class.

“Since then, I’ve been experimenting with some of the products and we’re hoping to work together again in the future.”

When asked what was so special about the smokery, Mr Myers replied: “It’s making use of the prisoners in a proactive way.t

“It sometimes gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning so it’s producing something really positive out of what could be a depressing environment. In terms of food hygiene, it’s second to none. I think it’s a wonderful facility and Cumbria should be proud of it.”

Mr Myers and around 30 other visitors to the prison were treated to a demonstration of the smoking process by Morag Hopkins, who runs the smokery along with Mary Tyson and catering manager Brian Schwarzer.

During her talk, Mrs Hopkins described how the facility, which has been open for a year and a half, smokes between six and 1,000kg of fish a week, and has the capacity to do more.

The gathering also heard how prisoners who help within the smokery can work towards an NQT in catering and hospitality, and one has even been offered a similar job on the outside.

Mrs Hopkins added: “The prison lads are the unsung heroes of this project, they’ve been amazing. We haven’t had one bad report on anything we’ve done. We’re very proud.”

The group was also able to taste products, including different flavours of mackerel, salmon and sausage. Prison governor Martin Faruqhar said: “The smokery is very unique in the prison service.”

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