Enter your contact details and we will email a prospectus to you.

We will not share your information with any third party.

Chef’s palate to artist’s plate

Facebook Like Button

Fancy a wee canapé of a Port Underwood Kiwa oyster, Joe’s sauerkraut, carrot and ginger caviar?

Then an entree of:

Scallop tortellini, in a spicy chorizo, kumara and apple puree with pork crackling, parmesan sauce and fennel air;

Followed by a main course of:

Canon of local lamb and masala lamb cheeks with carrot puree, tadka potato, savoury pistachio granola, stuffed young turnip, lamb sweetbread mousseline and smoked eggplant with a garam masala jus.

And don’t forget dessert!

Mushroom(!) sponge with goat cheese cream, stout and golden raisins, porcini meringue and thyme and brown butter.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

And I’d really like to try that last one...


Students studying with The Learning Connexion’s (TLC) Certificate and Diploma Restricted Programme have once again been involved in producing artwork for this year’s Wellington on a Plate – Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate. Sponsored by Visa, this is a food and hospitality event hosted by Rimutaka Prison and proudly supported by the Department of Corrections.


Plates 1

Plates 2

Plates 3

Plates 4

A selection of prisoner artist’s plates produced for Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate.


This is a night golden ticket guests won’t forget in a hurry, as they are escorted by Rimutaka prison staff through heavy prison gates and metal detectors, into the Visitors Hall to experience a small taste of life and a very exciting dinner menu, on the inside.

Celebrity Top Chef, Martin Bosley, teaches and mentors the prisoners for 12 weeks ahead of the annual three night event alongside prominent New Zealand guest chefs. This year saw Amy Gillies of Salty Pidgin, and Chetan Pangam of One80 take part.

Martin guides each of the budding chefs as they create and design the menu and learn from scratch how to prepare each course in the large prison kitchens.


The dining room at Rimutaka Prison.

The dining room at Rimutaka Prison.


This opportunity gives all participating prisoners the chance to learn new skills for the outside world, and have it count towards their sentence. Each year, more and more prisoners are putting up their hands to get involved; especially after Martin Bosley took on a couple of prisoners as employees after their release. The printing of the menus, the layout of the table settings, the artwork on the walls and, of course, the cooking of the incredible food, is all produced in prison and by the prisoners.

Demand for the occasion this year was impressive with more than 5,000 punters vying for 240 tickets – you’ll have to be in quick to secure a seat at next year’s event!

The Learning Connexion has been involved in partnership with Rimutaka Prison and the Department of Corrections over the last four years  providing and displaying TLC student prisoner artwork for the walls of the dining room.


Red stickers indicate sold artwork.

Red stickers indicate sold artwork.


Restricted Programme art students throughout New Zealand, studying via distance learning, are given a plate sized MDF board to make work specifically for the event.

The timeframe is tight for each of the artists as they only have about a month to produce their work and to get it to the Restricted Programme team in time for the event.

The extra challenge in producing these plates is with the limitations of materials they are allowed to use within prison. This means students have to be resourceful and creative with their vision. There have been a cookie and a cake made from papier mache, strips of bacon, even steak and chips carved out of wood, to create plates of realistic food.

These plates of artwork have been available for purchase over the last three years with fifty percent of the sale proceeds going to KidsCan charity in the last two years. It not only provides something the Department of Corrections students really get behind but also a momento of the night for the diners.


Learn more about our Restricted Programmes for Corrections students

To view an artwork catalogue, or for more information about our available Certificate and Diploma Programmes in Creativity and Art for inmates, email us at: correctionsenquiries@tlc.ac.nz


No one has commented on this article yet.