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Watch: Meet the Woman Teaching North Carolina Inmates to Cook

See inside the most popular cooking class in the state’s penitentiary system

Nancy Gould teaches one of the most popular classes within the North Carolina penitentiary system — food service tech, better (and more fondly) known as “cook school.” Gould’s class leaves inmates with practical, employable skills, but it’s not just about that: In her words, she “wants each and every one of them to be a better man when they get out of here.”

This film, Cook School (Directed by D.L. Anderson), for the Southern Foodways Alliance (which “documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South”), also features a few of Gould’s students, many of whom were surprised to realize how much they love to cook. In partnership with the SFA, Eater is sharing a number of films that highlight the history and future of Southern cuisine. Watch the film above for a look at how Gould and her students explore the world of fine dining, and stay tuned for more — or click below to read more about SFA’s mission and work.

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