Navy’s top cooks clinch a haul of medals in contest

Able Chef Claire Forster, left, and Able Chef Jordan Weatherill Picture: LPhot Barry Swainsbury
Able Chef Claire Forster, left, and Able Chef Jordan Weatherill Picture: LPhot Barry Swainsbury
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CULINARY chiefs from the Royal Navy have scooped a haul of medals in a major inter-service cooking competition.

The Senior Service’s elite chefs clinched two golds, six silvers and eight bronze medals in the opening day of Exercise Joint Caterer.

Able Chef Nicholas (Butch) Cassidy Picture: LPhot Barry Swainsbury

Able Chef Nicholas (Butch) Cassidy Picture: LPhot Barry Swainsbury

Now in its 17th year the competition sees the naval service culinary arts team take on the Army and RAF in a Masterchef, Bake-Off, Hell’s Kitchen and Ready Steady Cook-style contest, all rolled into one.

Among the navy squad included seven sailors from the service’s new flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is based in Portsmouth.

Warrant Officer 1 Billy Shepherd, who heads up Queen Elizabeth’s catering services department, said the event was helping to enthuse his team and inspire others in the navy,

He said: ‘This is not just a bit of fun. It’s probably harder work than what they’d be doing on the ship and they earn respect from the others on board for doing it. ‘

Petty Officer Jim Cox won a gold medal and best in class certificate competing in the Open Fish dish category.

The former Royal Marine, who transferred to the Royal Navy because of his love of cooking, is currently an instructor at the Defence Maritime Logistics School at HMS Raleigh.

He said: ‘I’m based in Cornwall so it would be rude not to choose fish. We all start with 100 points and I dropped three with some little mistakes, but I’ll rectify that next time. I’m ecstatic to win.’

The competition covers the whole gambit of catering from fine-dining for 84 people to a field-kitchen, this year provided by Royal Navy chefs from 42 Commando, who served up Beef Wellington, Chicken Biryani and two desserts.

As well as the Royal Navy, army and RAF taking part, the competition also saw chefs from the US Navy joining the fray.

The three-day event aims to develop culinary skills as well as building team spirit. Awards are given according to creativity, workmanship, composition and presentation – including taste, with each service taking the spotlight for a day.

Overall team captain, Chief Petty Officer Si Geldart said: ‘I couldn’t ask any more from the team. With this competition you have to hit the ground running and with two gold medals and two best in class on the first day, I think we’re in with a good chance.’