RAF Wittering Chefs Win Major Culinary Award

11 March 2016

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Two Chefs from RAF Wittering and their teammates in the UK Combined Services Culinary Arts Team won a major award at Hotelympia in London on 2nd March.

Top: (from left to right) Cpl Chris Beavis (RAF), Cpl Ian Mark (RAF), Cpl David Davey-Smith (RAF) and Steve Munkley (Chef Director of Salon Culinaire).   Middle: (from left to right) SSgt Andy Saupe (Army), Cpl Liam Grime (RAF) and Cpl Stefan Sewell (RAF).  Bottom: Cpl Chris Morrell (RAF). Corporal Chris Beavis from 3 Mobile Catering Squadron (3MCS) and Corporal Stefan Sewell from the Officers’ Mess, with their teammates from the RAF and Army, competed in the “Parade des Chefs” category of the Salon Culinaire Competition at Hotelympia.

Incorporating over 80 categories, Salon Culinaire at Hotelympia is the UK's largest and most prestigious chef competition. The Combined Services Culinary Arts Team (CSCAT) is comprised of the finest chefs from all three Armed Forces.

The Parade des Chefs demands that competing teams produce a three-course meal for 100 paying guests, under almost constant scrutiny from a legion of highly experienced and well qualified judges.

There is no room for error as all the cooking takes place in open conditions; the competition kitchen has transparent walls; every stage of preparation can be seen by judges, rival competitors and the thousands of trade visitors to the event.

A dessert feature crafted from chocolate by the CSCATCSCAT were up against seven other teams and, despite seven solid hours of high-pressure cooking, produced a beautiful menu; a starter of pressed chicken and apple, with a main course of treacle cured Hampshire beef, followed by a medley of chocolate and orange desserts.

Squadron Leader Roy Brunning is the Officer Commanding 3MCS. He said: “Competition at this level is on a par with Michelin star quality cooking and is way above anything you’d see on Masterchef. It is a serious test of a chef’s culinary skill and his ability to work in a team.”

Squadron Leader Brunning continued: “This is the kind of skill we have at 3MCS. Whilst you would never prepare a competition style dinner on operations, it is precisely that kind of skill which makes the difference between hot food and a good meal.”

Finding out that they’d won gold and best in class was a huge moment for the team. Corporal Chris Beavis said; “It was intense. The teams from hotels and restaurants work together on a daily basis, whereas we come from different units and work in different kitchens. Winning was massive, it’s the first time a military team has won in 14 years.”

Group Captain Rich Pratley, Station Commander at RAF Wittering said; “I am very proud that two chefs from this Station are part of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team. Chris and Stefan have done us proud and upheld the strong reputation for quality catering we have at Wittering.”

The Commanding Officer continued; “If service personnel are tired after a hard day’s work or away from home on operations what they want is good food. This competition shows just how seriously military chefs take their profession, that professionalism keeps their colleagues motivated and nourished.”

Editor: Ed Palmer

Photographs:

Top: (from left to right) Cpl Chris Beavis (RAF), Cpl Ian Mark (RAF), Cpl David Davey-Smith (RAF) and Steve Munkley (Chef Director of Salon Culinaire).

Middle: (from left to right) SSgt Andy Saupe (Army), Cpl Liam Grime (RAF) and Cpl Stefan Sewell (RAF).

Bottom: Cpl Chris Morrell (RAF).

A dessert feature crafted from chocolate by the CSCAT.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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