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Royal Navy chef through to final of culinary competition

Chef Nicole Watt has made it through to the final of the Young National Chef of the Year competition
21 September 2022
A talented Royal Navy chef has taken one of ten spots in the final of a national culinary competition.

Chef Nicole Watt impressed the judging panel with her mouth-watering semi-final dishes to make it to the Craft Guild of Chef’s Young National Chef of the Year.

She will prepare a three-course meal at the event at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London next month.

“To make it through to the final is an amazing achievement,” said Nicole.

“I’m very excited to be cooking my dishes for the panel of judges and looking forward to what the other competitors have come up with for this great brief that has been set for us. “To have made it through to the final, representing the Royal Navy makes me very proud.”

Nicole joined the Royal Navy in October last year and is currently employed at Admiralty House in Portsmouth.

For the final, she will need to create an egg starter which includes at least three of the following; pumpkin, root vegetables, watercress, beans, pulses, cereals or grains.

For the main course, she will need to cook a Provencal inspired dish using Norwegian haddock or cod fillet.

And finally for dessert, serve up a modern interpretation of a classic puff pastry dessert using a homemade puff pastry.

I’m very excited to be cooking my dishes for the panel of judges and looking forward to what the other competitors have come up with

Chef Nicole Watt

The Fleet Caterer, WO1 Carl Neville, added: “We have extraordinary talent in the RN Catering Services branch, serving up to four meals a day to hungry sailors and marines at sea, under the sea and in the field.

“They also showcase their culinary talents in delivering the wow factor both front and back of house in support of high-end Defence Engagement activity across the globe.

“What our people do is truly exceptional. Chef Watt is testament to this; when you see the list of world class dining establishments her competition peers are coming from, you realise just how good Royal Navy chefs really are.

“She told me she can’t wait to join her first ship HMS Defender early next year and loves being part of a team, catering at scale just as much as she loves to produce refined plates. We all wish her the best of luck in the final. Well done, Chef!”

Nicole impressed judges in the semi-final with this three-course jaw-dropper:

  • A first course of watercress chawanmushi with a mild curried granola, soused shimeji mushrooms, broad beans dressed in a broad bean oil, red amaranth and micro coriander.
  • A main course of line-caught Norwegian cod fillet, saute spinach with garlic and fennel, compressed cherry tomatoes, a julienne of pickled fennel and shallot, smoked cod beurre blanc split with a roasted red pepper oil, seaweed brittle and garnished with salty fingers, micro pea and fennel frongs.
  • A dessert of a classic tarte titan with a filling of pear and fig with rich caramel, fig and balsamic puree, white chocolate soil, served with a gorgonzola ice cream garnished with apple blossom.

The Young National Chef of the Year competition launched in 2012 and represents the most talented pool of young chefs in the UK, taking in winners of regional and national competitions across the UK.

Only the best, most innovative, and creative chefs get a shot at the title, providing chefs with an exciting opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight and show their culinary talent to the wider hospitality industry.

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