Gordon Ramsay, the chef, has criticised the level of comfort provided in Britainâ€™s prisons after teaching inmates to cook for a new television series
Ramsay, 45, said he was astounded when he discovered convicted criminals were given five meal choices every night and constant access to television, video games and gym facilities.
The restaurateur visited London’s Brixton Prison to filmÂ Behind Bars, a Channel 4 show in which he teaches 12 inmates to cook and sell their Bad Boysâ€™ Bakery produce to businesses on the outside.
However, he said he was disappointed with the prisonersâ€™ lack of work ethic, claiming the lax regime inside gave them no incentive to toil over a stove.
â€œWhat I wasnâ€™t prepared for was how easy it was for them in there. I was astounded at the comfort zone they carve out for themselves,â€ Ramsay toldÂ The Guardianâ€™s Weekend magazine.
â€œFive meal choices a night â€“ that was the one I really struggled with. I just thought it was a bit of a joke, to be honest, coupled with the 24-hour television, Xbox, DVDs, gym.
â€œWe canâ€™t watch television until four oâ€™clock in the morning. Iâ€™d like to have a gym seven days a week, by the way.â€
He added that seeing how soft the regime behind bars was made him feel â€œangryâ€ and â€œquite embarrassedâ€.
â€œI thought we were a nation of grafters, I thought we had the spirit of working harder than anyone.
â€œYeah, and why would they want to come and bust their —- for 10 hours a day when it was easy for them to do nothing? I find that hard to come to terms with.â€
He said he was flabbergasted by the quality of the equipment provided for inmates to cook with, adding: â€œEven a professional chef on the outside doesnâ€™t just walk into a kitchen that good.â€
The chef also disclosed that the project posed unique security challenges due to the use of knives in the kitchen as well the reaction of prisoners with â€œimpulse control issuesâ€ when confronted by his trademark boisterous manner and language.
It was disclosed that filming for the programme was eventually cut short amid concerns that Ramsay’s visits to the wings were causing too much disruption.
However, the inmates’ business is beginning to take off with 11 branches of CaffÃ© Nero in London now stocking their cakes and wraps.
‘I can’t believe how easy life is in British prisons’