The 2nd Battalion The Royal Yorkshire Regiment has shown its appetite for success by scooping five awards at the Army’s Field Catering and Culinary Arts Competiton. The team delivered a mouth-watering display of fine-dining and field catering at the one-day competition held at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham, home to 167 Catering Support Regiment RLC.
The annual competition saw the Army’s talented chefs go head-to-head in 15 culinary categories comprising group and individual competitions that pushed their culinary skills to the limits. The hard-fought battle for the title of Junior Chef of the Year went to Private Tueshumba Hepburn.
The competition brief saw the chefs asked to prepare cook and present two plated portions of a main course and two plated portions of a dessert within 70 minutes. For the main course, pork had to feature as the prime ingredient and the dessert had to feature summer fruits or berries as the main ingredient. Private Tueshumba Hepburn’s main course was sticky Guinness pork fillet with fondant sweet potato, butternut squash puree, corn on the cob and salty asparagus. This was followed by a dessert of sticky ginger cake with caramelized pineapple and summer fruits, coconut and rum ice cream with a lime syrup. He said: “I wasn’t expecting to win. When I heard my name, I was a bit shocked. There was a lot of talent and I know a few of the guys – I was up against a lot of good chefs.
Corporal Chris Finch won the Open Skills Poultry category with a tempting chicken roulade. The chicken breast was stuffed with Poursin cheese and red pesto and wrapped in Parma ham. He said: “I’ve entered a few competitions. It can be stressful, especially if you think you are running out of time. I knew a lot of the chefs, so for me it was good to catch up and, for the younger chefs, it’s good to gain experience, pick up tips and to face the pressure of a competition.” He is hoping his winning streak will continue when he steps into the boxing ring to represent his Company at the Battalion’s inter-company boxing competition in the next few weeks.
He said: “The last time I fought was in 2009 when I was 19. I just fancied another go. I’ve been training hard for the past two weeks and in between I have had to fit in my cooking practice.”
Corporal Craig Lockie, whose dad was a cook in the RAF, scooped bronze in the Open Skills Pasta Dish with a caramel and hazelnut filled tortellini. Corporal Lockie has only recently returned to his trade having spent over two-years as a recruit instructor at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate. “It was challenging having spent time away from cooking and then to come back straight into the competition, “ he said.
Corporal Lockie said: “When I initially came across the sweet pasta variant, I had a lot of ideas bouncing around my head and then I saw this dish. I had to tweak the amount of cocoa powder and sugar that went in to have the correct consistency for the pasta. I think I made it about eight times before I was happy with the consistency.”
Fellow chef Lance Corporal Bryant won the hot dessert category with his chocolate souffle, fresh chocolate and burnt cherry ice cream, a shortbread crumb and cherry gel. He said: “I was a bit nervous to be honest, but now I want to do it again. I was surprised to win. It’s been a great competiton. I know a lot of the chefs here so it’s nice to get together, show our skills and share some tips.”
Private Lalramzailawma won the Open Skills Fish Dish with a mackerel fish in a hollandaise sauce served with cucumber pickle and potato chips. He said: “I’ve been in the Army nearly five years. Sometimes we work late and at weekends, but I enjoy it. I never expected to be a winner. I was late starting, so I had to make a few short cuts, but it worked.”