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Alberto Crisci, MBE

Alberto Crisci, MBE

Alberto (Al) left school at 17 and went to Merton College for two years to train as a chef, gaining his City and Guilds qualifications in food preparation and food service, before going to Italy to work in Rimini. Here he worked in a hotel gaining experience in the kitchen, bar and restaurant.

Al later returned to the UK and worked in the Mirabelle Michelin star restaurant in London as a commis chef, before he joined the Regent Crest hotel as banqueting head chef for two years. He then went on to set up his own restaurant and wine bar in Croydon which he ran for eight years.

In 1994, Al joined High Down prison as a chef and worked his way up to Catering Manager in 1999, serving 2000 meals a day. He introduced the NVQ training programme in the main kitchen at High Down and set up gourmet lunches four or five times a year for potential employers to come in and dine. A table was set up in the store room where potential employers came in to eat and meet the prisoners.

In 2005, the prison was expanding and Al was asked by the Governor how he wanted to develop the catering department. This is when the idea of The Clink Restaurant was born.

In 2007 Al’s team was awarded a Butlers Trust Award, presented at Buckingham Palace, for Education & Skills Training.

In 2008 Al was awarded The BBC Radio Four Food & Farming Award for “Best Dinner Man”.

In 2009, Al was awarded an MBE for “Services to the Hospitality Industry” shortly after, Al also opened the first Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down with an ex offender as Head Chef and an ex offender as Maitre D and now ten years on The Clink Charity operates four prisoner training restaurants, two prison gardens an event catering service from a new production kitchen built in a woman’s prison and a café in Manchester city centre.

In 2011, after winning “The Education & Training Award” at the prestigious CATEYS awards, Al achieved an “Outstanding” in the OFSTED report.

In 2015 Al was appointed Honorary Member Of The City & Guilds Of London Institute in recognition of significant involvement in, and contribution to, the furtherance of the work of the institute in technical and vocational education and training.

In 2016 Al was awarded The Prince Philip Medal by HRH The Princess Royal

In 2016 Al was the only UK representative for the World Culinary Prize and was Shortlisted

In 2018 Al was named Public Sector Top 20 Most Influential Public Sector Caterer for the 3rd time.

Al has now taken on a project for HMPS working on seasonal, healthy, prison menus & Brexit food contingency.

In 2019 Al became an ambassador for Love British Food and British Food Fortnight, supporting the British food and farming industry.