Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty drove their Ford Capri to RAF Wittering to meet No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron for an episode of Friday Night Feast.
Filmed on a hot day in July of 2019, the episode of Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast was broadcast on Channel Four on Friday 3rd January. It follows the two chefs as they meet up with 3 Mobile Catering Squadron (3MCS) during Exercise Summer Hearne.
Squadron Leader Daz Purchase is Officer Commanding at 3MCS. He said: “Exercise Summer Hearne is all about the deployed setting; we practise the military aspect of our role and challenge our chefs in the field kitchen, so Jamie and Jimmy got to see both sides of what we do.”
Patrol Base Centurion is a facsimile of a military checkpoint, used by RAF Wittering personnel for training, and was the location for the Exercise Summer Hearne and the filming.
Last year 3MCS fed the British armed forces on Exercise Magic Carpet in Oman. Whilst temperatures in the kitchen weren’t quite up to Omani levels, Jamie and Jimmy certainly experienced authentic field catering in hot weather.
Beginning their shift at the servery, the two celebrity chefs helped serve up lasagne and a chicken stir-fry to the waiting personnel. Then it was on to the serious business of actually cooking for military personnel but, unlike a cookery programme where the ingredients are chosen and prepared, Jamie and Jimmy worked from military ration packs.
Working with Jamie on a chicken korma was SAC Matthew Jose, and SAC Karl Midgley prepared beef pasties with Jimmy. During preparation, the TV chefs found themselves involved in a simulated hostile attack from RAF Wittering’s Force Protection Team.
SAC Midgley said: “It was a bit surreal. You get used to cooking on exercises and operations, but it’s a different experience when the cameras are on and you’re cooking next to a TV chef. But it was good because Jimmy is a proper chef and he was open to what we do.”
Initially formed in 1975 as the RAF Mobile Catering Support Unit, 3MCS has been supporting exercises and operations for over forty years. The Squadron regularly supports fast jet deployments and can offer immediate support to aircraft crash situations.
Having fed personnel with a top-class curry and some delicious beef pasties, Jamie and Jimmy were presented with official Squadron patches by Warrant Officer Darren Rose. The day had made a lasting impression. Speaking to the squadron as he left Jamie Oliver said: “Thank you very much and more than anything, I think from me and Jim, thank you guys for what you do.”
Squadron Leader Purchase concluded: “It was a great day, really busy but a great day and a morale booster for all of us. You could easily see that Jamie and Jimmy were happy to work in a team, and they are real chefs with professional culinary skills. Working in a military kitchen is not easy, but they gave their all and were both excellent.”