It’s the first time ever a major UK restaurant group has worked within a female prison and fed its entire population.
The visit was done in partnership with the Ministry of Justice.
The chefs trained 18 prisoners some of the chain’s dishes to bring to life the experience of working in one of their busy kitchens.
Downview is based next to High Down male prison, which already runs an award-winning restaurant called The Clink.
Prisoners there are able to experience kitchen life with the hope of securing a job in the restaurant industry after they leave.
The Clink programme decreases the number of proven reoffenders during a one-year period by 15 people for every 100 participants.
Currently, around 3,200 women are serving time across the UK and 300 of these are at HMP Downview.
A Wagamama spokesperson said: “Supporting prison leavers into meaningful work has seen us visit a number of prisons across the UK where we have talked to men and women, close to release about Wagamama, who we are, what we stand for and the job opportunities we have to offer alongside the apprenticeship opportunities to build on any kitchen-based education they have received from the prison.
“Wagamama believes that people deserve a second chance and we commit, through our people promise, ‘all on one bench’ that our teams will always feel part of our no judgement community.
“We were proud to work with HMP Downview’s kitchen and turn it into a Wagamama kitchen for the day, enabling the women to see first-hand what it is like to work back of house in one of our restaurants.
“We’re committed to making sure these women see the opportunities available to them, especially having seen the impact first hand from our previous sessions and hope to help more people transition into meaningful work at Wagamama, whilst supporting in the wider goal of reducing re-offending.”