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Inmates cook up a storm in Changi catering kitchen as part of training, rehab programme, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – When father-of-two Faruk was sentenced to seven years and 10 months’ jail in 2017 for drug-related offences, he did not expect to find a passion for decorating cakes or learning how to fold pastries while behind bars.

The 38-year-old, who declined to give his full name, spends six days a week in a kitchen as part of his work programme during his incarceration in the Changi Prison Complex.

While his family has yet to try his creations, the former mechanic hopes to make his sons, aged 12 and 13, their favourite strawberry cheesecake, when he is released.

“My family was surprised that I could bake cakes. I could see from their faces that they are happy I’m learning because I have never done this kind of thing before,” said Faruk in a phone interview on Wednesday (Oct 7). “(In the kitchen,) I learnt how to be patient, relax, and come up with more ideas to decorate (the cakes).”

He hopes to work in a pastry shop after his release.

About 30 or so inmates are chosen every year to work in The Changi Tearoom, after they have attended correctional programmes that support their rehabilitation.

They are chosen based on interest or prior experience working in the food and beverage sector. Other programmes include tailoring workshops and working in call centres.

Located in the prison complex, the catering kitchen serves as an industry-standard training ground for offenders.

It is managed by YR Industries, a subsidiary of the Yellow Ribbon Singapore. While the public can usually order catering services from the kitchen, it currently serves only prison staff in the light of Covid-19 safety measures.

Another offender, who wanted to be known only as Michael, said he refined his skills in The Changi Tearoom kitchen.

He is serving a 5½

“Cook Like a Firefighter” competition raises awareness about kitchen fire safety

Fire departments across Arizona come together to raise money for the Arizona Burn Foundation.

PHOENIX — Firefighters across Arizona are pulling out all the stops for a big cook-off competition called “Cook Like a Firefighter.”

It’s not just about culinary skills, it’s to raise awareness about kitchen fire safety.

“We invited all of the fire departments across the state of Arizona,” said Mik Milem, Chief Operations Officer at the Arizona Burn Foundation, an organization working to help burn survivors and their families and raise awareness about fire safety.

While a lot of their regular community events are on hold due to COVID-19, they decided to improvise.

“We came up with this idea of doing a ‘cook like a firefighter’ competition,” he said.

The competition, a fun and mouth-watering way to get the community involved and educated on kitchen fire safety, shows support for the state firefighters.

Each department put together their favorite station staple recipe to show off and fight for the prize.

More than a dozen fire departments jumped on board and they had a lot of fun filming in the kitchen, cooking up tasty dishes.

“We told them, be fun but also put some fire safety and cooking safety instructions in there… firefighters lived up to that challenge,” said Milem.

Firefighters made everything from simple pancakes to tri-tip sandwiches.

“Energy balls, I think there’s two different kinds of burgers,” he said.

It’s easy to get involved and vote for your favorite recipe too, by donating to the Arizona Burn Foundation.

“All the money goes back to the fire departments by providing them free smoke alarms and free children’s education programing for them to go out into the community with,” he said.

The event is based on learning new recipes while providing necessary safety