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Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022

On an evening in late September, the kitchen at Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail buzzed with nervous activity.

“Let’s go, let’s go!” a man in a well-fitted white chef’s coat yelled. “We’ve got to be out the door!”

“Yes, chef,” said a man in a black and white striped prison jumpsuit, as he hastily chopped a pile of herbs.

“Wipe this down,” the chef said. “We don’t want this kitchen dirty.”

“On it, chef,” another replied, as he inserted a meat thermometer into a pan of chicken.

“Really, let’s go!” the chef cried as he moved toward the door.

“Right behind you, chef!”

A man in a black and white stripped prison jumpsuit pulls a pan of food from an oven in an industrial kitchen full of stainless steal appliances.
Credit: Ézé Amos/Charlottesville Tomorrow

A handful of people incarcerated at ACRJ are training for careers in the local culinary industry

The group headed toward a bare conference room upstairs where some 20 community members gathered for dinner. The four-course meal served as both a final test and graduation of an intensive culinary training program given by local chef Antwon Brinson to a select group of people incarcerated at ACRJ. 

Brinson began offering the program in 2019, after launching an organization called Culinary Concepts AB to train people for culinary careers who might otherwise struggle to find employment. The jail program is one of many Brinson offers through his organization.

A man in a chef's jacket and apron stands over a food prep table speaking to a man in a black and white striped jumpsuit who is stirring something in a stainless steal bowl.
Chef Antwon Brinson launched Culinary Concepts AB to train people who might otherwise struggle to launch careers in the culinary industry. Ézé Amos/Charlottesville Tomorrow

More about Brinson’s mission and organization in his First Person C’ville article published in Vinegar Hill Magazine.

Upon completing the course, the incarcerated students walk away with the training and certifications needed to enter the culinary industry. And Brinson keeps up with his students. Once they are released, he does what he can to help them get jobs in local restaurants.

Here’s more news from around the city:

Trial date set for lawsuit over the final disposition of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue

During a hearing Monday in Charlottesville Circuit Court, Judge Paul M. Peatross ordered the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which currently has possession of the statue, to disclose the statue’s location to the plaintiffs, according to a Washington Post article.

Charlottesville PCOB executive director resigns

Charlottesville’s Police Civilian Oversight Board Director Hansel Aguilar has taken a new position as the Director of Police Accountability for the City of Berkeley, California.

Thanks for reading,

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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Jessie Higgins

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.