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Navy Team hit the ground running in Masterchef competition

12 October 2017
The Royal Navy team finished the first day of this year’s Exercise Joint Caterer with a haul of medals, winning two gold, six silver and eight bronze.

Now in its 17th year the competition sees the Naval Service Culinary Arts Team (NSCAT) take on the Army and RAF in a Masterchef, Bake-Off, Hell’s Kitchen and Ready Steady Cook style competition, all rolled into one.

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.

This is not just a bit of fun. It’s probably harder work than what they would be doing on the ship

Warrant Officer 1 Billy Shepherd

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.

Colour Sergeant BJ Broadhurst, Field Kitchen team captain, said: “The scenario here is the team have 20 men coming off a six hour patrol, very hungry. 

“They can use two 10-man ration packs of their choice and create two separate mains and 10 portions of hot pudding and 10 cold. 

“They also get a list of dry goods and fresh goods that they can use.  I think this shows what a 10-man ration pack can do. 

“The expertise of the chefs can change those standard ingredients around and make a lot of different things.”

This year the NSCAT were again joined by representatives from the US Navy and also included seven sailors from the Royal Navy’s new Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Warrant Officer 1 Billy Shepherd, who heads up HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Catering Services Department, said:  “This is not just a bit of fun. 

“It’s probably harder work than what they would be doing on the ship and they earn respect from the others on board for doing it. 

“Hopefully over the next two years we’ll do more of this.  The more we can rotate our chefs and stewards around the various competitions the better. 

“They are working as a team here and hopefully they’ll bring that back into my galley. 

“They’ll be proud, wearing their competition jackets and telling their friends and families, which is a good advertisement for the Royal Navy I think.”

Exercise Joint Caterer runs for three days and aims to develop culinary skills as well as building team spirit.

Awards are given according to creativity, workmanship, composition and presentation – including taste.

Each Service takes the spotlight for one day of the competition with the Royal Navy going first. 

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.”

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