TedxBristol Speakers 2015

Al Crisci MBE

Dinner in the Clink

Time: 12:45 PM

Alberto (Al) is the founder of phenomenon that is The Clink Charity - a brilliant initiative to give prisoners a chance to change their prospects and lives through gaining qualifications in catering and hospitality.

There’s not a lot that Al doesn’t know about the food business. He left school at 17 and trained as a chef, working for Michelin star restaurants in London and running his own restaurant and wine bar in Croydon.

In 1994 he joined Highdown prison, serving more than 2000 meals a day. He introduced a City & Guild NVQ training programme in the main kitchen at the prison, and developed a gourmet lunch programme so that potential employers could come in, dine and meet the prisoners. In 2005, Al conceived the idea for The Clink Restaurants - an in-house, commercial restaurant, creating a unique dining experience which also supported the rehabilitation of inmates.

In 2009 Al was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to the Hospitality Industry’ and opened the first Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down with an ex-offender as Head Chef and an ex-offender as Maître D. Six years on Cardiff’s Clink Restaurant has repeatedly been no.1 on Trip Advisor and there are four restaurants around the country, as well as two prison gardens and an event catering service.

In 2011 BBC Bristol made a documentary following Al and a number of The Clink's graduates as they trained in the restaurant and strived to turn their lives around. The story doesn't stop here - Al will be telling us about his newest initiative Clink Events, which is in collaboration with Centrepoint, a leading charity who support homeless people in London.

Al will take us on his amazing journey, the tears and the tear-aways, and the experiences he’s had helping people who’d been ‘written off’ find their passion in food.

My great expectation for the future is...

…that we can change the public's perception of prisoners and pave the way to a brighter future for those who want and deserve a second chance in life

Watch Al Crisci MBE's TedX 2015 talk here: