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Ready steady ‘Cook and Serve’

6 April 2017
Chefs and Stewards from across the Royal Navy have been putting their culinary skills to the test at the annual Inter Flotilla Cook and Serve competition.

Four teams made it through to the final stages that took place at one of the Royal Navy’s grandest venues inside Admiralty House, the home of the Second Sea Lord in Portsmouth Dockyard.

Each team consisted of two Chefs and a Steward who were given a set amount to buy and produce a three course meal within 90 minutes.

They also had to choose wines to accompany each dish and explain why they made their selections.  

During our deployment in the Gulf over the past seven months we’ve catered for up to 1000 people, 3 times a day, so there’s no room for complacency.

Chef Ashleigh Durston

“It can be quite daunting for some of the younger chefs and stewards,” said Chief Petty Officer Joey Murray, who runs the Retinue Support Pool in Portsmouth.

“This is a great springboard to progress onto bigger competitions.

“It’s not ration-pack cooking, this is High-End culinary skills and they can be expected to produce these standards in front of a large audience, where there could be up to ten judges analysing everything.”

For this particular competition the teams are representing Devonport, Faslane and Portsmouth, and have already fought through their respective heats to get this far.

From Devonport the HMS Ocean team have only just returned for deployment and spent the past week getting their skills up to speed.

“It’s been very frantic in our galley,” said Chef Ashleigh Durston, Team Ocean leader.

“During our deployment in the Gulf over the past seven months we’ve catered for up to 1000 people, 3 times a day, so there’s no room for complacency.

“This is a great chance to really show what you can produce.”

Important in every team is the steward service and front of house is the final check before individual dishes are served.  Steward Abby Washington of Team Ocean has to know what goes into each dish as well as how the Chefs have cooked them.

“It’s quite nerve-racking being the face of the team and at first I was very nervous, but working as a team has helped us all.”

Winners of the Inter Flotilla Cook and Serve this year is Portsmouth flotilla team two who received their prizes from Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Personnel) and Naval Secretary, Rear Admiral Simon  Williams CVO.

He congratulated all the contestants and express thanks for such a superb meal.

CPO Joey Murray continued, “Competitions like this are a massive eye opener.

“As much as you can cook and produce some amazing meals, when the pressure’s on, when you feel the heat in the galley, when you’re being judged and all eyes are on you, it can get pretty tough but everybody gets a lot of joy from it as well.”

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