The last meal is something of a tradition for prisons. While it is not always offered in every case and in every facility, some wardens allow death-row inmates to receive one last meal composed of whatever they want.
What would you pick for your last meal? It’s a very serious question for a handful of inmates, one that prisoners have decades to ponder. As you might expect, spending decades thinking about a single dish can make some people a bit fanatic about food.
So why not let these incarcerated food fanatics run their own restaurant? It’s not like they have much else to do.
Italy is giving prisoners a chance to leave their cells, grab a butcher’s knife, and cook up some fine Italian cuisine. The 500-year-old Fortezza Medicea is a maximum security prison that holds some of Italy’s most notorious criminals. Also, it’s a place where you can go to get some killer food – made by killers.
I mean, you’ve got to overlook the fact that you have to go through a full security pat down just to get in, that armed guards will be patrolling the room while you eat, and that you have to eat with paper plates and plastic forks. Once you overlook those minor concerns, you’re probably in for a rather interesting meal.
The restaurant is an experiment in prison rehabilitation. It gives the prisoners something productive and entertaining to do, it helps the government recoup some of the costs of maintaining the prison, and it helps to dispel stereotypes the public might have about felons. Everybody wins!
In fact, Fortezza Medicea is doing so absurdly well (with seats booked weeks in advance) that the government has extended the program to other prisons.
If you’re feeling brave enough to step into prison and have dinner served to you by a man convicted of armed robbery and murder, then you get to sample the prison’s regional menu, which includes items such as mini frittatas, gnocci with a fava bean puree, and cheesecake garnished with chocolate.