Michelin chef Michael Deane is judge in prison Bake-Off

Michelin-star chef Michael Deane has been sharing his culinary expertise with prisoners in Maghaberry during a visit to judge a Prison Bake-Off competition.

The award-winning chef was a special guest at the Bake-Off final for prisoners involved in a City and Guilds Hospitality and Catering course run by the Belfast Metropolitan College.

Director General of NI Prison Service Ronnie Armour, Governor Dave Kennedy and Gillian Winters, Head of Learning at Belfast Metropolitan College, join Michael Deane at the judging table for the Maghaberry Bake-Off final. Picture: Michael Cooper

Director General of NI Prison Service Ronnie Armour, Governor Dave Kennedy and Gillian Winters, Head of Learning at Belfast Metropolitan College, join Michael Deane at the judging table for the Maghaberry Bake-Off final. Picture: Michael Cooper

Twenty five prisoners took part in the competition to produce savoury meals, quiche, chicken-en-croute and sausage roll, as well as mouth-watering sweets including apple and pear crumble, lemon syllabub shortbread and Victoria sponge.

After two heats of the competition, three finalists were selected to battle for the Prison Bake-Off crown, each creating a trio of desserts.

And the eventual winner – a 25-year-old prisoner with a prize-winning lemon meringue, deconstructed cheesecake and profiterole tower – was selected by Michelin chef Michael Deane.

Mark Holmes, Head of Activities at Maghaberry Prison, said: “We are delighted Michelin-star chef Michael agreed to judge the Maghaberry Bake-Off.

Director General of NI Prison Service Ronnie Armour joins Michael Deane at the judging table for the Maghaberry Bake-Off final. Picture: Michael Cooper

Director General of NI Prison Service Ronnie Armour joins Michael Deane at the judging table for the Maghaberry Bake-Off final. Picture: Michael Cooper

“All of the prisoners who took part in the competition enjoyed the experience and many of them will also come away from the course with a qualification in catering and hospitality.”

He added: “Part of the work of the Northern Ireland Prison Service is to challenge people in our care and support them to change. Encouraging them to live a healthier life-style through vocational skills will also help them when they are released, reducing the risk of re-offending and helping to build a safer community.”

Michael Deane said: “This is the first time I have been in Maghaberry and I have been both surprised and impressed by what I have seen here today.

“Picking a winner was not easy and I want to congratulate everyone who has taken part in what has been a great showcase for the hospitality and catering skills that prisoners are learning here at Maghaberry.”

David Seffen, Head of Prison Programmes with the Metropolitan College, said: “We are delighted so many prisoners have taken part in this bake-off event. It is illustrative of the work ethic of prisoners and is testament to the skills and confidence of our catering and hospitality teaching in Maghaberry.

“With the growth in Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector, this is encouraging. It means prisoners will be leaving prison work-ready, which ties in with Belfast Met’s aim of social inclusion, widening participation and helping to reduce reoffending.”