The RAF Marham Culinary Arts team competed in this year’s Exercise JOINT CATERER…

…held at the Defence Academy Shrivenham 10-12 Oct, where they competed against some of the best chefs and caterers from the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force. The team, managed by Cpl Simon Barton were SAC Thomas Parker, SAC Chloe Smith, SAC Rick Bowers, LAC Terri-Anne Powell and Mrs Kamila Kuchnio (ISS). Between them they achieved seven medals and one Best in Class award, which contributed to the overall success of the Royal Air Force.

SAC Parker competed in the Open Bakery Skills class in which he had to prepare, bake and present a display of bread and rolls. He made a Parmesan, Parsnip & Sage Loaf, Olive Bread Sticks, Malted Wheat Rolls, Multi Grain Rolls & Sea Salt & Black Pepper Rolls and he achieved a credible Bronze Medal.

SAC Smith and LAC Powell, Caterers in the Officer’s Mess both competed in Junior Steward Skills where they had 20 minutes to prepare and serve a continental breakfast for 2 diners. The breakfast had to consist of a pre-prepared Florida Cocktail; freshly brewed tea and cafetiere of coffee and accompaniments. Armed with the experience of competing in this class at RAF Skills Day they excelled again, Terri-Anne achieving her second Silver Medal of the year whilst Chloe smashed it and beat all other competitors in the class by achieving a Gold Best in Class. This also led to another award for SAC Chloe Smith who won the WO Pete Hudson Memorial Trophy set up to honour his memory and is the first time this trophy has been awarded. This prestigious award was presented by members of his family, to the junior member of TG19 showing the highest future potential at Exercise Joint Caterer.

SAC Rick Bowers competing for the first time, having just returned from a 4 month tour in the Falklands, bravely took on the challenge of Open Ethnic Class where he had 40 minutes to prepare, cook and serve 2 plated portions of an Asian, African or Caribbean Dish where menu planning was critical. Rick has an inspiration for cooking Moroccan food so his menu was Ras el Hanout spiced Lamb Rump served with Harissa Yogurt with Fig Couscous, Pickled Cucumber & Baba Ganoush. Rick achieved a well-deserved Silver Medal.

As with RAF Skills Day RAF Marham was the only unit to have an ISS employed chef compete, Mrs Kamila Kuchnio, who entered open Hot Sweet. Kamila competed in this class back in June but this time around she challenged herself with a very different style of dessert, the dish was a Chocolate & Almond Brownie served with a Chocolate Sauce, Blackberry & Yogurt Ice-cream, Roasted Blackberries and Praline. Kamila had 30 minutes to prepare, cook and serve 2 plated portions of her chosen dessert which she achieved a Bronze Medal taking her total to 3 medals for 2017.

Cpl Simon Barton, team manager and mentor, competed in the class of Senior Grand Prix and Open Duck with the Senior Grand Prix, which he had won previously, he had 2.5 hours to prepare, cook and present a 3 course meal for 2 covers to the highest standard from a box of mystery ingredients supplied by the organisers. He was allowed the first 30 minutes to compile his menu and cooked a starter consisting of Sea-bass with a butter Poached Prawn, Fennel Broth and Caramelised Shallot & Parsley Oil, next came Harissa spiced Lamb Rump with a Paprika Rosti, Breaded Lambs Kidney, braised Cavolo Nero, Oyster Mushrooms and a Honey & Ginger Jus. His dessert was a Honey Pannacotta with Orange Shortbread, Roasted Blackberries, Caramel Sauce and Cointreau Oranges.

For Simon’s Duck dish he had 40 mins to prepare, cook and serve 2 plated portions of his chosen dish which was a Seared Duck Breast with Almond Crusted Potato Bonbons, Roasted Cherries, Cherry Gel, Carrot Fondant finished with a Soy & Honey Jus. Simon achieved a Bronze Medal for Senior Grand Prix and a Silver Medal for the Duck Class.

During the event LAC Powell was awarded with promotion to SAC. There was a little ceremony held by the Team from Marham lead by Partnering Officer Fg Off Woodward.

Cpl Simon Barton and Mrs Kamila Kuchnio also competed in the ISS Chef of the Year competition which was held on November 1st. Both Simon and Kamila challenged themselves by competing in separate heats against chefs from other Defence units. During the heats they had 2 hours to produce a two course menu for 2 covers. Kamila Kuchnio was runner up in her heat and went through to the Defence final which she won overall and is now the ISS Defence Chef of the Year, however it doesn’t all end there, Kamila has one more competition which is the Final of the ISS Chef of the Year where she will compete against the other winners from the ISS regions.

The Catering Flt are not resting on their laurels just yet as the next round of competitions will be the highly challenging International Salon Culinaire early next year, where they will be competing against highly experienced chefs from various sectors of the industry.