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A new leaf turned... The Tihar Food Court

Mistakes happen in life, being found guilty is not condemnation for perpetuity. Men deserve a second chance, though out of brood and guilt he may feel otherwise, it is important for a mature society to lend a helping hand. A modern society needs to be productive avenues to the convicted too by providing rehabilitation/education et al. It may help him feel part of the society yet again. He may become a workforce, get a reckoning or come to terms with life. Rehabilitation of offenders in all aspects, where they can be integrated back into the society, has proved to be a challenging task for the correctional system. One cannot look at the punitive measure in isolation and choose to neglect the humanitarian aspect of an individual. It is on these noble lines that this restaurant has come to being, “The Tihar Food Court” which solely aims at rehabilitation of the inmates. With so many other rehabilitative measures and programs in place, this one is the latest addition.

New Delhi Tihar Food Court

It is like any other restaurant, located close to gate no 3. of Tihar Jail, which can house a crowd of 40. Neatly arranged wooden tables and a clean interior, a small arrangement for those who want to be seated outside, wherein 10 people can be accommodated. All the elements in the place is set to a more down-to-earth kind of tone. The walls showcase the artwork of the inmates.

What is different about this restaurant is that the employees here are a bunch of convicts serving prison time. The waiters here dressed in white and red stripes are no less cordial or efficient than the ones you can find at the high-end restaurants.

These inmates have earned their way in to this place. Out of a batch of 50, seven were hand picked, trained in all aspects of hotel management. They have received formal training from experts in the sector. New cuisines, baking, plating techniques, time management, how to wait a table, hygiene factors, all said to have been covered in the training sessions which reflects every possible way the employees are conducting themselves. The individuals chosen are observed over a period of time.

There is a list of prerequisites for the inmates to be a part of this esteemed set up or program, one should have been an inmate with 12 years of impeccable prison record, disciplined and should have received high school education. Inmates who are likely to be released within a span of 2 years or less are preferred, reason being, the less likely chance of escape. They are given an allowance of Rs 74/- each day.

menu at tihar food court

Food served in the restaurant ranges from samosa, pyaz ki kachori, veg cutlets to a chana bhature, Regular north Indian thali, special deluxe thali which priced the highest at Rs.150/-. The grilled sandwich is already creating waves with the locals. Packed food is also available for those who do not have the time.

The restaurant was launched in the mid of June, and is already well known with the locals. The apprehension that existed amongst people in the beginning is starting to wane. Customers seem to go back to enjoy their favourite food, be it the lassi, kachoris, dhahi bhalla or a thali and also are overwhelmed by the courteousness of the employees. It is sure to have a fair share of consistent clientele in days to come. Cleanliness is one aspect for which it has already made an indelible mark and claimed accolades.

This innovative rehabilitation idea has given these inmates an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. It gives them a career and also enables them to focus on what they gained once they are released. The inmates are already talking about setting up similar restaurants once they are out on the civvie streets.

Address:- Tihar Jail Complex, Opposite Indraprastha Gas Station, Jail Road, West Delhi.

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