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

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Europa Hotel completes first phase of renovation programme

THE Europa Hotel has completed the first phase of an extensive renovation programme of its guest bedrooms.

The programme, which will be completed by March 2022, will see the 100 front-facing Superior bedrooms, 80 Classic bedrooms and five Suites redesigned and upgraded.

The hotel’s general manager James McGinn, said: “We are pleased to open the first two floors of eight floors of newly rejuvenated bedrooms as part of our renovation programme.

“The work, which started in September 2019, represents a significant investment by Hastings Hotels, and despite the challenging times we are all currently facing, we are committed to ensuring we continue to offer the highest of standards to our guests and will complete this phased project over the next year and a half.

“No detail has been overlooked and I am confident that our guests will love the new urban chic feel, which comes complete with bevelled mirrors and on-trend brushed brass.

“It’s a stunning new look for the world-famous Europa Hotel and we’re looking forward to checking in our guests to experience the new rooms for themselves.”

The project has been designed by RPP Architects and Interiors and Floor Design, with Graham Construction delivering the renovation programme.

Amanda Ramsey, director of Interiors and Floor Design said: “The Europa Hotel has a strong presence and character in the heart of Belfast city centre and when it came to redesigning the bedrooms, Hastings Hotels had a clear vision on the direction that should be taken. The rooms are functional, yet clever in design, with elements of glass and mirror creating a spacious feel within each bedroom.

The fabrics that have been selected pay homage to Belfast’s Linen Quarter, where the hotel is located, and the textures and earthy tones help create a restful sleeping space.

“Soft geometrics and carpet

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