Talented submariners win Navy Master Chef competition

A team from HMS Talent has shown off their culinary expertise to become the winners of the Devonport Flotilla Catering Competition held at HMS Raleigh.

The three person team, made up of two chefs and one steward, entered the high pressure arena of competition cooking at the Defence Maritime Logistics School (DMLS), alongside teams from four other Devonport based ships and submarines. 

HMS Talent was represented by Chef Thomas ‘Jules’ Andrews, Chef Paul Moran and Steward Jay Genner. 

Each team had just 90 minutes to impress the judges by preparing and serving a three course meal for four covers.  

The determination to do well and the enthusiasm for the craft was fantastic.

Bill Ferguson

The teams were given freedom to design their own menu but were limited to £10 per head.  All ingredients used had to be available from the core range used throughout the Fleet.

The team from HMS Talent produced a mouth-watering menu of smoked haddock ravioli al sole with asparagus and tomato concasse as their starter. 

The main course consisted of Moroccan pork belly, herb crusted pork fillet and ham hock bonbon served with cauliflower puree, colcannon potatoes and an apple jus.

For dessert the team produced strawberry shortcake served with strawberry ice cream.

While the chefs concentrated on preparing and cooking the meal, the stewards were judged on their front of house skills in preparing the table and serving the meal. 

The competition was judged by former and current Royal Navy chefs and stewards who are employed at HMS Raleigh.

Ex- Royal Navy chef, Bill Ferguson, who is now an instructor at the DMLS, employed by Babcock, was one of the judges assessing the chefs’ performance.  He said:  “The standard was very good. 

“The determination to do well and the enthusiasm for the craft was fantastic. ”

Keeping an eye on the stewards’ performance was Gary Slater, a former Royal Navy Warrant Officer, who now works for ESS at HMS Raleigh.  He said:  “The key to success is to be friendly towards the customer, professional at all times, but don’t get over familiar. 

“You need to know what your customer wants before they do.  From my perspective the front of house team members did really well.” 

The competition was based loosely on the annual Armed Forces culinary challenge, known as Exercise Joint Caterer, and was organised by the Devonport Flotilla staff using the extensive facilities available at the DMLS.

Cdr Dave Preece, Commander Logistics for the Devonport Flotilla said:  “All these chefs and stewards work for the Devonport Flotilla. 

“This competition gives them an opportunity to get together with like-minded people and demonstrate professional skills that they have developed either at the DMLS or during their day-to-day job.  They can show-off and develop their individual talent, which they don’t always get chance to do on board as the environment they work in on a daily basis is all about volume.”

This was the second Devonport Flotilla Catering Competition, which also included this time teams from HMS Portland, HMS Monmouth, HMS Triumph and HMS Trenchant.