“Coldwater Kitchen” Documentary Presented at Tibbits

COLDWATER – Tibbits Film Series presents “Coldwater Kitchen,” the documentary on Chef Hill and the culinary training program at Lakeland Prison at 6 pm Wednesday, March 6.

For 30 years, soft-spoken chef Jimmy Lee Hill has run a highly regarded culinary training program out of the Coldwater prison offering incarcerated men a renewed sense of purpose through the craft of fine dining – everything from foie gras to lobster. The film follows Hill and three of his students as they struggle to adapt to different stages of incarceration, re-entry and redemption using food as a catalyst for positive change.

“Coldwater Kitchen” is a feature-length documentary about mouthwatering food, bountiful gardens and exquisitely prepared meals—an unexpected lens through which to tell the story of incarceration in America. Everybody eats, but there are few places where food is as purposeful and necessary as it is inside Hill’s confounding high-end kitchen surrounded by razor wire.

Chef Hill employs a mix of compassion and humanity uncommon in the criminal justice system. He is more than just a culinary instructor. He’s also a mentor, a father figure, a spiritual leader, and counselor. He doesn’t just teach his students the skills they need to become fry cooks. Among other things, they learn the French mother sauces, proper service à la russe, how to pour and discuss wine and more. This is training at the highest level—the kind you’d find at any well-regarded culinary school on the outside.

“Coldwater Kitchen” is a timely film that comes as the national conversation around the criminal justice system—which touches one out of three Americans—has begun to shift, moving from punishment to habilitation and into an area where there may be rare bipartisan support for reforms.

Through the interwoven and diverse stories of the four key men, “Coldwater Kitchen” subtly addresses some of the most pressing questions of our time, employing food as a prism to tell deeper stories of purpose, resilience, and redemption.

Following the film there will be a Q & A session, then a reception highlighting the culinary skills of the Branch Area Career Center students in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program, as well as Chef Hill’s own students.

Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for students. Tibbits Ghost Light Bar will be open. No outside food or drink is allowed inside the theatre. Runtime for the film is 89 minutes.

For more information on this as well as other offerings at the theatre visit Tibbits.org or call 517-278-6029. Website: https://coldwaterkitchen.film/

Chef Jimmy Lee Hill, left, talks to inmate Brad Leonard in the garden at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Mich. Tibbits Film Series presents “Coldwater Kitchen,” the documentary on Chef Hill and the culinary training program at Lakeland Prison at 6 pm Wednesday, March 6.
Brad Leonard prepares a multi-course meal at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Mich. Leonard is a student in the food tech program, a unique culinary class designed to teach inmates the intricacies of fine dining.