On Assignment
Lifting the Lid: Mastering a Sweet Craft, for a Second Chance
At the SCORE Bakery, inmates learn the craft of baking in order to enhance their opportunities for rehabilitation.

Craftsmen, artisan bakers, inmates working towards their second chance in life – we visited the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) Bakery for a glimpse of its mooncake production facilities. 

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Mooncake 1
ALL PHOTOS: Desmond Ang

The Bakery operates out of the Singapore Prison Service’s compound at Cluster A in Changi, and is a business unit under SCORE’s Work Programme. It seeks to enhance the employability of inmates by letting them work and train in realistic environments that inculcate positive and professional behaviour. 

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 2

The SCORE Bakery started making mooncakes in 2008, after a volunteer baker from Hong Kong shared his knowledge during a visit to the facility. 

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 3

Since then, the Programme has grown in scope, with SCORE producing approximately 1,500 boxes of mooncakes every year. Part of the sales proceeds go towards the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which provides financial support for rehabilitation and aftercare services for ex-offenders, as well as reintegration support programmes for family members of ex-offenders. 

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 4

Quality and freshness are key. The mooncakes are made to order, which means they are produced according to pre-orders received. They are also individually hand-crafted by SCORE’s artisan bakers. 

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 5

The SCORE Bakery employs 150 inmates, 15 of whom are involved in its artisan production operations. As part of their training, SCORE bakers learn different aspects of the mooncake production process from preparing the mooncake skins and baking to packaging. Divided into two daily shifts, the bakers can make up to 100 boxes of mooncakes every day.

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 6

And they don’t just make mooncakes. The artisan bakers are also trained to craft other premium pastries such as cookies, muffins and croissants, as well as bite-sized snacks for Christmas and Chinese New Year. 

7 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake

Inmates in SCORE’s Work Programmes pick up valuable professional skills, eventually receiving Workforce Skills Qualification certification after their training. Together with SCORE’s Job Coaching and Placement Services, this gives inmates a higher chance of securing jobs upon their release, reducing the likelihood of them reoffending.

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 8

“I was in the Food and Beverage industry before I was sentenced,” said XB, 38, an artisan baker with SCORE. “Even so, there was a learning curve when it came to learning about mooncake production. Making the mooncake skin was the trickiest part; I didn’t expect it to be so challenging. But my supervisor was very patient in teaching me.”

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Bakery Mooncake 9

For XB, each mooncake he makes represents another step forward in his journey of rehabilitation. “Eating mooncakes is a Chinese tradition that symbolises ‘reunion’, and I used to enjoy them with my family,” he said. “I can’t do that now because I’m serving my sentence, but I hope that my family will be able to try the mooncakes I make.”

6 Sept 2018 SCORE Mooncake Bakery 10

For more info on the SCORE Bakery, email sales@score.gov.sg.

  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 07 September 2018
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