Over 80 of the British Army’s best chefs have proved that they can produce fine dining as well as cooking in the field during a catering competition.
The Prince William of Gloucester Barracks hosted the Exercise Army Sustainer event which saw chefs from both the regular and reservists compete in six categories covering operational and formal cooking.
Using only ingredients from operational ration packs and a stove they had to build from materials like an empty metal drum, metal grid and bricks, teams of three were tasked with cooking a two course meal for 20 soldiers in the improvised field catering challenge.
Undaunted by this a team of reservists from Grantham-based 167 Catering Support Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps served beef balti and spicy ham pasties followed by bread pudding or fruit strudel within the three hour time limit.
Sergeant Viv Gritton, an ex-regular who now works as a head chef at Durham University, said: “We were given the box of ingredients and then just had to crack on with planning a menu and building a kitchen.
“It’s about drawing on our experience and skills as chefs to do the best that you can and it’s been an emotional few hours!”
Elsewhere chefs were asked to produce a three course meal for six dignatries from a field kitchen.
In this VIP challenge teams were able to show off with refined dishes such as sweet chilli prawn salad and chocolate-orange bread and butter pudding.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ian Skipper said: “Food is a vital part of military capacity, both in the simple terms of giving our soldiers the fuel they need to operate and in maintaining morale.
“This competition is the first time we have had reservists and regulars competing against each other, demonstrating the closer working relationships we are building as the structure of the Army changes.
“All our chefs are trained from scratch and this competition shows the breadth and standard of skills they have. The same soldiers can deliver mass catering in the harsh environment of operations and also produce food worthy of a high class restaurant.”