Exercise Joint Caterer

Exercise Joint Caterer is the annual Combined Services Culinary Competition formerly held at Sandown race course, this year the competition was held at Shrivenham, a new setting and a fresh new approach to the future of Joint Caterer.

This year RAF Marham played a major role with five Chefs competing, four of which are members of the Royal Air Force Buffet Team and three are members of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team.

The Competition is judged on a points basis with certain events being classed as Blue Ribbon events; these events count towards the overall team score for the Inter-Services Trophy.

Cpl Beavis, SAC Grime, SAC Sewell and SAC Scott all competed as part of the RAF Buffet Team which over the course of two weeks had to prepare a show stopping table comprising of a selection of Amouse Bouche,  Starters, Desserts and a Platter for 8. The dishes on the Buffet Table are all glazed delicately in aspic jelly for presentation and the skill and flair demonstrated has to be world class with dishes being scrutinised by  internationally recognised judges and chefs, any minor faults will lose the team points. The amount of detail and presentation required saw the team working 176 hours in 10 days, routinely working through the night!!! The RAF Buffet Table was amazing and (disappointingly) gained the team a Bronze Medal.

The individual classes saw Cpl Chris Beavis and SAC Stefan Sewell competing in the Open Lamb category, competitors had only 30 minutes to prepare and produce two plated portions of a Lamb dish to their choice. Straight out of the blocks RAF Marham were flying with Beavis and Sewell getting straight in the zone! After the 30 minutes Cpl Beavis and Sewell presented their dishes, Cpl Beavis gained a Bronze medal and SAC Sewell gained a very well deserved Gold Best in Class. SAC Sewell’s winning dish was cooked and presented in the JRM for the AOC, AVM Atha, Stn Execs and a selection of junior ranks on the recent AFI resulting in numerous laudable comments and exceptionally clean plates.

After winning the RAF Chef of the year crown earlier in the year SAC Liam Grime was going for the ultimate accolade of Combined Services Chef of the year. Competitors had 2 ½ hours to develop a menu from a box of  mystery ingredients and produce a three course menu. The Competition was fierce with the best competition chefs the military has to offer all competing for this title. After 2½ hours of menu design preparation and presentation (not forgetting stress and sweat) SAC Grime was presented with a Bronze Medal and Best in Class gaining him the title of Combined Services Chef of the Year. In November SAC Grime will be competing for the title of ISS Chef of the year, if he succeeds and wins this will be the first time ever that an individual has held all three titles!! We wish SAC Grime the best of luck.

SAC Dan Scott was up next and competing in the Junior Chicken category; Scott was to produce two plated portions of a chicken dish to his choice. Scott was feeling the pressure from the first heats as there were a few good medals handed out during the previous day. However, Scott’s swagger and skilled performance carried him through; presenting a well executed and well presented dish earning a deserved Bronze Medal.

Finally the competition for Open Hot Dessert was upon us and due to service commitments our initial entry had to be withdrawn but SAC Chris Woodcock stepped into the breach and with only two days notice produced a menu. Woodcock developed a dish, had one timed run through and then performed in front of a live audience at Shrivenham, after the competition Woodcock was awarded a Certificate of Merit which we all thought was a  little harsh but the judge’s decision is final. Competing on this stage with no preparation is very daunting but this was not evident as Woodcock didn’t falter and was very calm and collected. A Cert of Merit on this stage is still an extremely good achievement and was well deserved.

Many of the events RAF Marham’s personnel competed in were blue ribbon events which all counted towards the Royal Air Forces overall score, this year for the first time in seven years unfortunately we were beaten by the ARMY a title they won’t be getting used to!!!

2014 is a very busy year for the Competition team with the Combined Service Culinary Arts Team competing on the International stage at Hotel Olympia and the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg not to mention the RAF Skills Competition and of course Exercise Joint Caterer. Hopefully RAF Marham’s Chefs and Caterers can emulate the success of 2013 and produce more of the same in 2014.