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South Texas inmates graduate from culinary school

SAN ANTONIO – A select group of South Texas inmates recently graduated from a culinary school as part of a program offered at the San Antonio Food Bank.

The program trains and tests inmates in the kitchen.

A celebration meal was prepared in honor of their accomplishment with Master Chef Mark Bohanan, of Bohanan's restaurant, on hand to taste the meal.

The graduates prepared a lunch of grilled chicken, sauteed green beans, roasted rosemary potatoes and a dessert.

"The restaurant industry is really looking for workers. They are struggling for employees, so there is a really good chance they'll end up in a hotel, in a restaurant, in a caterer," said Eric Cooper with the San Antonio Food Bank.

Lane Mitchell is among the graduates finishing the six-week program at the end of his 12-year sentence for robbery.

"This is an open door for me to sharpen my skills and get me ready for employment in the free world," he said.

Mitchell will likely see the free world in January when he is freed from prison.

"I think they will be able to do it if they so desire and if they put their mind to it. That's what I have been telling them. They've been given a second chance. Don't blow it," said Bohanan.

The graduation comes in the middle of the food bank's Hunger Campaign month.