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Trainee sailors serve food fit for a Queen

13 December 2017
Trainee chefs and stewards based at HMS Raleigh have returned from a week on board the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier helping to serve food fit for a Queen.

The group of 33 from the Defence Maritime Logistics School (DMLS) joined the catering department on board HMS Queen Elizabeth to help with preparations for the ship’s commissioning.

Trainee chef Harry Martin was one of the team chosen to help prepare the commissioning lunch for the VIP guests including Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. 

The 17-year-old from Pembrokeshire is due to complete his Defence Chef’s Course in four weeks time.  

To get the opportunity to cook for Her Majesty, and especially at such a prestigious event, does not happen to everyone.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Cleary

He said:  “We helped do a salmon starter dish, a lamb main course and a blood orange tart for dessert.

“It felt surreal, being so young and achieving something that high profile, cooking for the Queen.  I felt I dealt with the pressure well. 

“The chefs on board were really helpful.  After the meal we all lined up and the Queen walked passed us.  She told the Stewards it was very good food.”

The team were also involved in feeding members of the Ship’s Company.   Trainee Chef Patrick Okla, aged 33, from Portsmouth worked in the ship’s Junior Rates galley. 

He said:  “Working on HMS Queen Elizabeth gave me a real insight into what it’ll be like when I pass out of training.  I absolutely loved it. 

“At some points I felt under pressure, but it was good pressure and made me realise that I can do this job.”

Many now have an ambition to serve on the ship once their training is complete including trainee chef Chloe Jones, aged 23, from Teignmouth in Devon.  She said:  “It was really busy.  We were feeding about 800 people at one time.  The ship was very big. 

“We stayed on board and the accommodation is really nice.  We don’t know our drafts yet for when we finish our training, but now I’m familiar with HMS Queen Elizabeth, I wouldn’t mind serving on there.”

Being part of such a high-profile and historic event was a great experience for the trainees.  Lieutenant Commander Chris Cleary, the Officer-in-Charge of Catering Services training at the DMLS, said:  “To get the opportunity to cook for Her Majesty, and especially at such a prestigious event, does not happen to everyone. 

“For these students to get the chance so early in their career has not only enthused them to complete training but also to enter the Fleet and experience life on board properly. 

“Credit must also go to their instructors who passionately work hard behind the scenes to train them to such a high standard and ensure they are completely ready to go and serve in any platform as soon as they leave DMLS.”

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