Lakeland Prison in Michigan has World-Class Culinary Restaurant Inside: the Saffron Cafe!

Detroit restaurant critic Mark Kurlyandchik first reported on this “uber-exclusive” restaurant and is working on a fascinating documentary about it.

In the southern part of Michigan, about 10 miles north of the Indiana border, is Lakeland Correctional Facility (Coldwater, Michigan).

Opened in 1985, Coldwater is a Level 2 security prison which houses 1500 inmates spread across 16 units.

Executive Chief Jimmy Hill

Since the prison opened, executive chef Jimmy Hill has run a world-class culinary arts school & restaurant called the Food Technology Program here, which is apart of the larger Food Service Hospitality Management Program.

As part of the program, inmate-students also run The Saffron Cafe, an “uber-exclusive” invite-only restaurant.

It takes 7-12 months for each inmate to complete the program and they graduate with 3 certificates.

Kurlyandchik reported that the Seared Bison he had here was outstanding.

Certainly sounds like it’s several steps up from the traditional Nutraloaf, which is prison mystery meatloaf. Also called Lockup Loaf and Confinement Loaf, nutraloaf is supposedly one of the world’s most unpalatable non-foodstuffs.

From Blis:

Chef Hill also requires his students to complete lab activities that test their competency in various skill sets within a specific time limit:

  • Poultry Fabrication
  • White Stock
  • Beef Stock
  • Velouté-Fish Stock
  • Chicken Stock
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Velouté Sauce
  • Espagnole (Brown Sauce) Sauce
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Fillet a Fish
  • Creaming Method Cake
  • Foaming Method Cake
  • Blending Method Cake
  • Mayonnaise from scratch
  • Basic French Dressing
  • Cookies (Rolled Method)
  • Cookies (Drop Method)
  • Cookies (Ice Box Method)

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