Top chefs from the Senior Service spent the day passing on their knowledge to a pair of students from Highbury College, in Cosham, as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
Aspiring cooks Samuel Sewell, 24, and Abba Mustapha, 24, were given a rare private lesson on how to temper chocolate from the navy’s elite team in the kitchen of Admiralty House, on Portsmouth Naval Base.
Samuel, who lives in Southsea and has ambitions of one day owning his own chain of restaurants, said his time with the navy had been brilliant.
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‘It’s been great to be able to learn from professionals,’ said the student, who is studying a level two commis chef course.
‘I was very excited when I heard I would be coming here. I had been looking to become a submariner chef so it’s nice to be able to come and get a feel and see how the cooking is done here.’
Guiding them was AB Claire Forster, who this year won the title of the Royal Navy’s junior chef of the year.
She is part of the 700-strong crew of Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. As well as cooking for the ship’s company, she is also on the combined services team which tours the UK showing off the military’s best cooks.
AB Forster said: ‘There’s a lot more to cooking in the navy than people think. By 7.30am I could have cooked 1,000 eggs on Queen Elizabeth. Whereas here you can feed 10 people.
‘Being a chef can be stressful. I find it more stressful competing for two covers than I do feeding 800 people.’
Petty Officer Tug Wilson oversaw the day. The 37-year-old has been in the navy for 16 years and said there’s no better place to train.
He said: ‘A normal apprenticeship in civvy street would take two years. We offer the same standard of training in 20 to 26 weeks. At the same time those guys will receive a full wage, they’ll be fed, accommodated and eventually get to see the world at the same time as doing something they have hopefully come to really enjoy.’
For details on training in the navy, see royalnavy.mod.uk/careers