Grand Gastro Gathering

This year’s annual RAF Culinary Competition held at RAF Halton’s Catering Training Squadron, was the last one at the base before the Squadron moves to co-locate with the rest of the Food Service Wing at Worthy Down.

The competition is a chance for chefs and catering personnel from across the Royal Air Force to compete against each other and expand their culinary skills from the huge amount of expertise that is available during the two days.

The competition results in a positive affect on the younger members of the trade and enjoys support from industry in the form of sponsorship from companies and educational trusts to recognise individuals that have performed exceptionally, not only at the competition but also in the trade.

Judges at the two-day competition ranged from military Olympic gold medal winners to celebrities. Richard Corrigan, a TV chef, who as the winner of the Great British Menu in 2009, cooked for the Help for Heroes banquet held at Halton House Officers’ Mess was so impressed with the RAF expertise that after judging for the 2010 competition, he committed his time and that of some of his workforce to provide judging and advice again this year.

After the event the Team Director Flight Lieutenant Kev Cole and Team Manager Warrant Officer Ian Goddard select personnel from around the trade to represent the RAF at Ex JOINT CATERER, which is being held at Sandown Park Racecourse from 27 – 29 September 2011.

Flight Lieutenant Cole said: “[Ex JOINT CATERER] focuses on culinary skills and in particular, skills that are much needed in the operational theatres, the old adage of an Army marching on its stomach is as true today as it was in Napoleon’s time – although we include the RAF in that now! The RAF drew level with the Army at Ex JOINT CATERER in 2010, and having been victorious the previous 2 years, the RAF hold the winners shield. It is our intention to win for the 4th year in a row before re-locating to Worthy Down.”

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