The Clink Charity’s Christopher Moore reveals how a good water filtration system reduces the stress of a busy kitchen – in association with BRITA Professional

The  Staff Canteen

Chief executive of The Clink Charity, Christopher Moore spoke to The Staff Canteen about rehabilitating ex-offenders back into society, why having water filters minimises downtime and the dangers of not having filters serviced regularly.

Chief executive of The Clink Restaurant, Christopher Moore spoke to The Staff Canteen about rehabilitating ex-offenders back into society, the importance of proper water filtration and the dangers of not having filters serviced regularly.

Food Preparation
Food Preparation

An avid food lover from a young age, Chris got his first break in the hospitality industry working for hotels including Holiday Inn and Hilton Hotels. Prior to his current role at the Clink Charity, Chris headed up catering for Fenwick department stores and was director of catering at Harrods.

Speaking of his current role, Chris said: “It’s the best of both worlds because I’m doing what I love, working with food and working with people, but also we’re working for a charity making a difference to society.”

The Clink Restaurant is a unique charity organisation aimed at helping to reintroduce prisoners and ex-offenders back into society through training schemes and qualifications. Set up eight years ago, the charity rehabilitates those released from prison and helps them get back on their feet.

Chris says, “if they haven’t had proper training or the help and support and accommodation, 47% return to prison in the first year of their release.”

The Clink Charity was set up to break this cycle, not only training people in cooking and food service but also providing them with social skills and confidence so they can go back out into the world with the necessary skills to make a better life for themselves.

“We are training them up to gain their qualifications and get their lives back on track before possibly going down the wrong route and ending up in prison”, says Chris.

The Clink Restaurant at HMP Styal
The Clink Restaurant at HMP Styal

Speaking about the how the charity works Chris said: “We meet them at the gate, help them find accommodation and employment and we’re there for them 24/7 to help them readjust back into society.

“And by providing this programme our Clink graduates or ex-offenders are 41% less likely to re-offend.”

Now with four restaurants based in Brixton, Cardiff, High Down in Sutton and Styal in Cheshire and a horticultural division in Surrey, Chris has found that most of the sites suffer from hard water which is why proper water filtration has become fundamental for the organisation.

“It’s very important, certainly in a hard water area like most of our sites”, Christopher said.

“When you’re using such sensitive equipment such as coffee machines and combi ovens you have to make sure the water coming through is filtered.”

Along with the four restaurants, the charity also has Clink Events - an events catering division - which allows prisoners, previous Clink graduates and the homeless from the Centrepoint charity prepare dishes for cocktail parties and receptions.

As training is paramount to the charity, Chris needs to ensure downtime is kept to a minimum which is why water filters are fitted to the machines to not only keep them functional but to also save time not to distract away from the important training the charity provides.

“Having the filters on the machines prolongs the life and means we have less downtime and we can provide more training to our prisoners which means we can save more lives and make the world a better place.”

As part of their training and NVQ qualification, the prisoners are also taught how to effectively clean the equipment and machines. A skill often overlooked but necessary to not only prevent the risk of limescale and keep the equipment lasting longer but to also help the ex-offenders find employment.

Exterior of The Clink Restaurant at HMP Brixton London

Exterior of The Clink Restaurant

at HMP Brixton London

Chris said: “We train our prisoners in knowing how to clean them down which is very important to us.”

A service contract is also in place to ensure all equipment is routinely checked and in working order.

Although Chris was aware of the dangers of combi ovens being highly susceptible to developing a build-up of limescale, a staggering two-thirds of chefs don’t know the risks untreated water can cause, something Chris was shocked to learn.

“I think it’s quite surprising really because it is part of the maintenance of that equipment”.

He continued: “It’s worthwhile to take care of your kit and we have filters on virtually every bit of kit, we use them throughout. Obviously the harder the water in your area the more you need to be changing them and keeping them up-to-date.”

As a non-profit organisation, Clink needs to keep costs to a minimum in order to continue helping those reintegrate into society, so unnecessary repair costs could become a real hindrance. To prevent this Chris ensures water filters are fitted to his equipment to keep costs down and urges others to have them fitted their equipment too.

He said: “If you don’t have water filters I presume you will be spending a lot of money on descaling and repairing. So, if you haven’t got water filters put them on and you will actually save money overall.”

Looking to the future, preparations are already underway to build a production kitchen in a London prison and are currently looking for potential venues to work with on the project.

And with high praise on the review site, Tripadvisor (all four restaurants were voted number one last year at the same time) people are obviously getting behind the charity and all their good work.

Speaking of the support the charity has received, Chris said: “I think it means the general public are buying into our values and they’re wanting to help and support this work to repair society.”

Find out more about BRITA Professional and the perfect water filtration solution by visiting the BRITA website here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th January 2018

The Clink Charity’s Christopher Moore reveals how a good water filtration system reduces the stress of a busy kitchen – in association with BRITA Professional