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Former offenders turn over new (recipe) page at Romford’s Salvation Army with chefs David and Mark Borrell

PUBLISHED: 10:04 27 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:13 27 June 2013

Susan Raymond, Aisha Clarke and Shane Chana show off their dishes, with chef Mark Borrell in the background

Susan Raymond, Aisha Clarke and Shane Chana show off their dishes, with chef Mark Borrell in the background

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Havering’s own twin chefs Mark and David Borrell are helping ex-offenders turn over a new leaf – of the recipe book.

Service user Susan Raymond with chef Mark Borrell Service user Susan Raymond with chef Mark Borrell

They are running a five-week course organised by the Greater London Authority (GLA), the London Probation Trust and the Salvation Army to help rehabilitate people with criminal convictions.

Mark and David – who cooked for the Queen when she formally opened Drapers’ Academy last year – are working from the Cooking on a Budget Plan booklet they wrote for the council.

“I used to train chefs in hotels,” Mark said. “That was OK, but I get more satisfaction from helping people to help themselves.”

Participants not only learn to feed their families healthy, good-value food, they also gain kitchen skills that could help them find work.

Chef Mark Borrell and service user Aisha Clarke Chef Mark Borrell and service user Aisha Clarke

And some of those on the course – with weekly classes in Romford High Street’s Salvation Army hall – could have a bright future.

“I’d say some of the food they cooked is good enough to serve up in a restaurant,” Mark said. “It’s of a very good standard because they listen and they follow the recipes well.”

Susan Raymond, 39, of Hornchurch, is “really loving” the course.

“The chefs explain everything about how to cook from scratch and the dishes we make are easy, tasty and cheap to prepare,” she said.

(L-R) Chef David Borrell (Skills Training Network), Trevor Fisher (Salvation Army), Anita Grant-Williams (London Probation Trust), Chris Stannett (Havering Council) and chef Mark Borrell (Skills Training Network) (L-R) Chef David Borrell (Skills Training Network), Trevor Fisher (Salvation Army), Anita Grant-Williams (London Probation Trust), Chris Stannett (Havering Council) and chef Mark Borrell (Skills Training Network)

“I’ve previously studied an NVQ in food preparation, and this course follows on from that, so I feel my cooking skills are really improving.”

Lucy Satchell-Day, assistant chief officer of London Probation Trust’s local delivery unit, said: “This course helps service users develop the means to manage their food budget, look after themselves and improve their own and their families’ lives.

“It’s been great to see how those taking part have really engaged with this project, grown in confidence and developed their skills. I’m sure Havering Council would join me in thanking the Salvation Army for kindly providing space for this project free of charge.”

Trevor Fisher of Romford’s Salvation Army said: “Part of our mission is to help those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and in need, so when Havering’s community safety team approached us about a joint partnership project it fitted very much with our ethos.”

The scheme is funded by the Greater London Authority and costs £900.

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