PRISON BAKING – Fondant Fancies at Bad Boys Bakery

Baking at Bad Boys Bakery

Last week I headed into Brixton Prison to bake with the inmates who work in the prison-based bakery, Bad Boys Bakery.  It was founded by Gordon Ramsey in 2012. I have worked closely with Malcom who runs the bakery over the last two years and often go into bake as well as offer jobs on release.

I really enjoy heading into the bakery, it is a hive of activity, always lively, fun and sugar filled! It is great meeting the guys, hearing about the skills they have learnt and how baking has changed their jail time. For lots of them baking is new and they enjoy being given the opportunity to learn new skills.

Still suffering from Royal Wedding fever, the guys wanted to bake fondant fancies. (see picture below) It was challenging in terms of the number of steps in the baking process, but we managed it and over the course of three hours baked with and got to know the 8 inmates working in the bakery.

With each and every prisoner there is a story and an ambition of what they want to do on release and the bakery is a best place to fuel their ambition. Stuart, for example, who is gluten and dairy intolerant is taking the time to learn how to bake gluten free cakes and make raw products which plans to sell in his gym on his release.

I met Dave who is in charge of making the daily batches of breads which include sour dough and white loaves. He has worked within the bakery for the last couple of years and having baked before on the outside is a veteran within the team. The bakery is known for its great bread, we are serving a few of Dave’s loaves at a press breakfast in July and the cafe in the past has served it.

Frank was also in the bakery last week, we all love Frank, he is definitely memorable as he is well known for being lively and excitable with visitors. He explained to me that he had woken up in the morning realising it was 2018, easily done! Frank is currently the kitchen porter within the team but also in charge of making the team lunch. Suffering from ADHD the bakery for Frank is a place where he feels relaxed and can enjoy being part of a wider team.

I was really impressed by a prisoner I met called Alex who wanted to make Danish pastries, which I feel is pretty ambitious. When we arrived he was making the pastry and I helped with the custard, both these steps take real skill and it was great to see him embracing it all. Alex and I chatted about his ambition to set up a pastry and milkshake café on his release, I am hoping that he can come and work at SP café on his release so I can continue his learning process ahead of starting his own venture.

With the mixture of skills and personalities it is very clear to anyone visiting how brilliant Malcom is. He really is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about teaching his team. They are all learning and love being part of the bakery.



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