River City inmates learning to cook Frisch's style

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Jail inmates are learning skills that will help prepare them for a career in the food service industry after their release.

At the River City Correctional Center (RCCC), only a select few are enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program. Those offenders get hands-on experience in food preparation during the nine week course.

Inmate Kathryn Douglass says they learn some valuable life lessons.

"Negotiation, apologizing, understanding the feelings of others, asking questions. Those are all the skills that we've learned," Douglass explained.

Douglass is serving time for violating her probation and says she's also learning something about cooking.

"I'm not a very big cooker at home so I've learned a lot of things in this kitchen that will help me when I leave here," she said.

Thursday is "Frisch's Day" at the correctional center, where the food served for lunch comes from the Frisch's menu and the inmates, or 'residents', are learning to cook, Frisch's style.

RCCC Food Service Manager Greg Janneck says the residents get a good grounding in commercial food operations.

"It's teaching them everything from the basics, all the way through from knowing about safety, sanitation to equipment to food preparation to management," said Janneck.

Frisch's Human Resources Manager Lamont Taylor says residents who successfully complete the culinary training are guaranteed a job at Frisch's.

"After 124 hours of kitchen and classroom work, they can actually leave this facility while they're here and work in our restaurants," Taylor explained.

Getting a job goes a long way towards keeping a convict from re-offending, according to Taylor.

"Come to this facility, they put things in place to allow you to transition back into society, but it's extremely important that you have some job rated skills so you can transition back into society and be a productive member of society," he said.

About 150 residents graduate from the Culinary Arts Program each year, and the program has also served as a model for other workforce development programs around Ohio.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.