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BELFAST catering students recently pitted their culinary skills against Royal Navy Submariner Caterers during a “Cook and Serve” competition at the Belfast Met.

The Submarine Flotilla’s Belfast Shield “Cook and Serve” competition, provides students and submariner chefs the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in front of a panel of judges.

On March 22nd, six teams from across Belfast came together to compete at the Belfast Met, going head-to-head with RN Submarine Flotilla Teams.

The challenge was to produce a delicious, high-quality, three-course meal, with “front of house” students also being tested on their knowledge and technical serving skills.

The teams were given a budget of £120 and worked under tight time constraints to come up with their creations.

Some of the delicious dishes the inventive chefs created for the competition included: Honey Glazed Duck Breast, Sous Vide Cod with Curried Mussels, Pan Fried Saffron Cod, and Lamb Rump with Anchovy & Wild Garlic.

Chief Petty Officer Cartwright, who was part of the judging panel, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for Royal Navy Catering Services personnel to demonstrate their culinary skills and showcase their talents in hospitality, alongside the College teams.”

“It was a pleasure to sample and judge the delicious dishes which were beautifully presented and served. The guests and judges were very impressed with the flair and professionalism demonstrated by the teams.”

As well as cooking for the boat’s crew while at sea – a submarine is always a “boat” – submariner chefs are also expected to be able to serve a fine dining experience.

Food is an enormous part of the morale on board as the crews are sometimes deployed for months at a time without surfacing.

Petty Officer Christopher Tarr, an experienced submariner chef who helped organise the cooking competition, said: “When at sea, people enjoy the meals they have at home – Sunday roasts, Friday’s fish and chips, and of course theme-nights such as steak and chips, or curry and pizza nights.

“It is a close knit ‘family’ onboard and people have their core roles but can quickly switch to utilise their training to fulfil other duties. This can include firefighting, first aid, or even ‘driving’ the submarine.

“The chefs really look forward to opportunity such as this to showcase their full range culinary skills. Competitions like Cook and Serve are a great way of keeping skills honed.”

Although training and development continues throughout a submariner chef’s career, trainees complete ten weeks of basic training before going on to the Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration. This is followed by a further 11 weeks of submarine training where they learn about the vessels including warfare, weapons, propulsion, and escape training. After this they go to sea on a submarine before hopefully qualifying as a Royal Navy submariner.

The winner of the Belfast Cook and Serve competition was South Eastern Regional College, with South West College and Northern Regional College coming in second and third place respectively. The teams were presented with their gold, silver, and bronze place medals by Lady Mary Peters (RN Honorary Captain).

Original Article can be found here (15) HM Naval Base Clyde | Helensburgh | Facebook