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Navy chefs cook up flipping fantastic pancakes

28 February 2017
A Royal Navy chef has been sharing his tips on how to turn the humble pancake into a gourmet delight with his class at HMS Raleigh

With today being Pancake Day Leading Chef (L/Chef) Leon Hutchinson, who is currently an instructor at the Defence Maritime Logistics School, gave some of the junior chefs a lesson in making the tasty treat. 

Starting with the mix of eggs, flour and milk, L/Chef Hutchinson showed the chefs how to flambé the pancakes to develop the flavour and then added a selection of fruit to serve.

The 26-year-old said:  “I wouldn’t say there is trick to making the perfect pancake.  

People eat with their eyes, the first thing they do is look at a dish and if it looks good they then want to taste it.

L/Chef Leon Hutchinson

“With pancakes and any cooking it’s about confidence and being able to produce what’s required. 

“You want it to look good and taste good.

“I’m a big fan of fruit so that’s what I’ve used with these pancakes, but I’ve also got a sweet tooth, so my preference for a pancake topping would probably be hazelnut chocolate spread.”

Most Royal Navy warships will mark Pancake Day with chefs working hard to make up to 300 pancakes for the Ship’s Company using in the region of 300 eggs, 10 kilos of flour and six gallons of milk.

L/Chef Hutchinson joined the Royal Navy in 2007 and has served on three warships and as part of the Mine Countermeasures squadron. 

Originally from Jamaica, he lived in London before he joined the Service and worked in a four-star hotel.

He said:  “I saw what the chefs prepared at the hotel, but being a chef in the civilian world involves a lot of unsociable hours.  

“The Navy is something different, a new challenge and it’s not just chefing every day. 

“You do so much more; first-aid, fire-fighting and damage control, which makes it all the more interesting. 

“There’s also the different things we get asked to do like disaster relief; setting up a field kitchen to help people in countries struck down by natural disaster, which for me is a great part of the job.”

Royal Navy chefs undergo a 26-week course at the DMLS, based within HMS Raleigh, to prepare for their primary role at sea. 

The course attracts recognised civilian qualifications.  A similar course at a civilian college would take two years to complete.

Speaking of his role as an instructor, L/Chef Hutchinson said:  “Being an instructor is a good experience because it’s a chance to train the future Navy, keeping the standards expected. 

“We want them to be the best of the best.  As a chef cooking is an art form.

“When you make certain food and see what it looks like on a plate, there’s a feeling of pride knowing that it’s something you’ve created with your own hands. 

“People eat with their eyes, the first thing they do is look at a dish and if it looks good they then want to taste it.”

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