Confessions of an Army Chef!

Since the ACC was scrapped in 93 in favour of RLC have standards dropped?


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#1
I have just read the posts of best / worst Kitchen... Thought you might like to cross the hotplate... Some of my memories as an Army Chef...
:D 2 Field Workshop REME, Moody Brook 83/84 Tar had been used to seal the roof by RE. REME Cpl with ony a few strands of hair left suffered a direct hit of melted tar, removing what he had left - that of course was the chef's fault!
:? Had to put poison down in the kitchen every night for the rats, they sent us some blue stuff that was kracking, didn't see another rat - RE who came to sort out the horrible sewer smell - OUCH!!
:eek: 9/12th Lancers in Wolfenbuttel 84/86 watching that saturday brunch was hillarius, we used to have sweepstakes to see if various individuals would manage one mouthful they were that pi''ed!
:roll: 9/12th Officers Mess, I asked the duty waiter to get me 3 btles of Port for as Victorian Port Wine Jelly... Officers loved it, Mess Manager flipped as waiter had given me 20yr old LBV's... Good / v expensive!!
8) Watching 2 ACC Sgts who thought they were gods gift screw up an all in stew that was to feed the whole regiment at the Railway sidings (only meal in 18 hrs) when opened it was all off and bubbling.... Master Chef was not happy!
:!: One of same Sgts trying to stretch rations not knowing the difference between Maize and Sweetcorn - he made us cook it for 3 days.... Still like eating rocks... Could have sold the couple of gas bottles we used trying to cook it to by a couple of boxes of inned / frozen...
:oops: 26 Engr Regt, Iserlohn 86/89 getting that pissed and going straight into work to do breakfast for an extra 400 TA as well as 250 normal. TA CO came looking for the chef to complement him - they showed him me in the staff room toilet praying to the great white god!!
:? 26 Officers Mess tradition was that if duty officer was only person dining that they can order what they like - she ordered Crepe Suzette...
I served it myself Flambe - you are supposed to let the flame burn out before starting to eat it! At least it got rid of her moustache!
:wink: Best memory racing around BAOR in the back of a Bedford full of Orange Handbags, discovering how many places on an SMG can open a beer bottle.
:x Worst - listening to waking squaddies whinging about how cold it was on EX and how lucky the chefs are working in a hot tent, not thinking that you had done the same 3 hours earlier to get their breakfast ready...
:x Re Cockroaches - the camps budgets pay for extermination - do you think that chefs like the the horrible things!!
:x Portion Control - if everyone ate what they took it would save so much that everyone could have what they want - don't try and tell me that the swill bins were full cause of the quality (though admittedly K1 at ST OMER ranks easily as my worst!)...
Come on then you chefs (RLC need not apply) lets let em have it!
 
#2
I call chef-walt. If you were a real military chef there would be at least 1 anecdote involving your knob and and a pot of gravy/porridge etc.
 
#3
Certainly was, perfected porrige in the Falklands, knob - assumed you meant butter but have just re-read.... Some of us didn't feel the need, though it kept many in line thinking about what you could do....
Gravy..... God I hated duty chef particularly at PMC Arborfield, 80 bloody gallons a night, but I did it properly (ish) every time!!
No Blue scrambled egg on my breakfast shift!!
 
#4
An old but true story for all you old Sappers who remember Operation Crown in early 60,s Thailand , we had just put away the number 1 burners and moved into into our new wriggly tin kitchen fitted out with real ovens and a concrete floorworking in the shade was going to be heaven :lol: no more laterite dust in the cornflakes, but I digress 59squadron were due to arrive from singapore, bringing with them more cooks and a real live rasc trained Baker!!they arrived, the baker was a funny looking grey coloured old man,but he made good bread and pies so he was a big hit,he kept himself to himself and was seen to consume copious amounts of tiger beer and Mekhong (thai whisky) daily,pretty soon his basha mates were complainig about the smell coming from the old mans bedspace , the old boys flour and sweat stained vest and plimsolls could be smellt in the next basha,one of the young sappers decided to teach he old fella a lesson and one night he took a large dump in the old mans plimsolls,but the baker said not a word,so his roommates much to the amusement of the camp, carried on a campaign of crapping in the old mans footwear.6 months passed, the bakers tour was finished and he was due to fly back to singers, at his farewell mess pissup, one of the plant ops apologised for crapping in his plimsolls.No problem he said all will be explained in the note I have left for the new baker in the pastry room :p Next morning the cook sgt found the note which read!Everyone thought it was a great joke to crap in my plimsolls well! once a week I baked your turds in my bakers oven, then I ground them into powder last week I also baked my plimsolls and ground them up too and put the powder in your pepper pots in the dining room and canteen,so you all got your own shit back, for weeks after that nobody in camp touched a pepper pot!!never abuse a cook or anyone in the kitchen our revnge is swift :twisted:
 

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#6
B00MER said:
Excellent! lol! Hmmm came accross bakers in the Falklands in 83, thank god I was nice to them..... Great bread as well!
My next door neighbour was an RAOC WO1, Master Baker based at Vierson nr to M/G.

He went to the Falklands in 82 with an mobile bakery (an musem piece of equipment).

I was there in 83 and it was still going strong then and the bread was great, I met him again in M/G in late 83.

An excellent chap.
 
#7
Served 85-94, so only one and a half years with RLC:-

:( Arrived in BAOR, taken to bed space, saw CQ the folowing day, picked up webbing etc and active edge kit list, went out on the lash that night and got crashed out the following morning at daft o'clock, kit carried in plastic bags until we stopped at a restplatz for an hour giving me a chance to pack properly.

8O Officers Mess 23 Engrs, theme nights every Weds, the ACO decides that it was a British theme that night, he'd cook and give me the rest of the day off (who was I to argue?), prep left for him, came in teh following day to an almighty bollocking from the Master Chef due to thefact that he'd cooked fish and chips, wrapped in newspaper and slid it down the Mess table to the diners

:D 3 Fd Wksps in 93, on a night exercise/smoker to give the vehicles a run before the main exercise season started, got to rally around in Scorpion, 432 and Warrior before settling down to a few wets (read sidebins overloaded with alcohol, woke up at 05:00 the floowing morning to see one of teh lads gop flying up the hill only to stop halfway and come trudging back down, turns out he'd shat himself whjilst running and decided that it was all over.

:D 89, Batus, coming in off the piss from the Hat, straight in through the back doors of the cookhouse for the dinner plate size burgers being served up by the nightshift.

:) 89 Batus again, working nightshift, Pay Corps come in for a replen for the bar food (saved them money and made a massive profit), bartered with the lance jack that came in that for the rations given, we wanted 20 cigs each and a slab of beer between us to drink after work (05:30), got told no way, RAPC told to fcuk off then, he comes back 5 mins later with said cigs and beer, rations duly handed over, this happened every night for 2 weeks :lol: :lol:
 

terroratthepicnic

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
Boomer, you need to add 1 more addition to your vote thingy. Standards dropped since they let civvies run the kitchens. Standards didn't drop when the ACC became RLC (because obviously all the chefs that were serving suddenly didn't know what to to do over night). It was when they decided to let civvie companies run the kitchens.
 
#9
Great thread, Boomer! :D

The ACC was the best: some of the most delicious meals I have ever had were cooked by the Corps. Superb morale boosters each one of them when in the field.

Looking forward to reading more of your confessions.
 
#10
B00MER said:
Certainly was, perfected porrige in the Falklands, knob - assumed you meant butter but have just re-read.... Some of us didn't feel the need, though it kept many in line thinking about what you could do....
Gravy..... God I hated duty chef particularly at PMC Arborfield, 80 bloody gallons a night, but I did it properly (ish) every time!!
No Blue scrambled egg on my breakfast shift!!
80 GALLONS!!!!WAH Fcuking how many were you feeding?
 
#11
If you want a real confession from a slop jockey it will be along the lines of;

I've failed every PFT I bothered to turn up for (duty chef).

I've failed every APWT I bothered to turn up for (duty chef).

I'm obese because of a glandular disease not due to greed.

Admittedly you do produce good food - you fat lazy cnuts.
 
#12
Excellent thread. I hope it has “legs” and continues for a good while.

As a young Subaltern, I regarded it a perk (as part of my duties to have) to attend meal times in the cookhouse, as it meant I could eat food from the hot plate - invariably better and a wider choice than would be available in the Officers'€™ Mess.

I'€™ve always had a high regard for the ACC and the food they produced - in camp/Depots, or in the field whilst on Ex.

The only caveat I would add, is that on a couple of occasions, a small number of individuals needed to be "€œgripped"€.

As OC of a very small unit, whilst on ex in Germany, I was sent a couple of ACC pers from their Depot. They confided to me that the compo included tins of salmon - and that as they could do nothing with it, the tins would return home with them to be stashed in their attics, with hoards of other compo. When asked, they confirmed the compo also included "€œpom"€ (powdered mash potato), and I instructed them to make fish cakes. Damn good they were, and appreciated by all. (At ENDEX, the CRs I wrote fairly reflected their attitude, behaviour and performance).

When given the responsibility for a Sqn, on our first Field Ex, I was able to ask questions that I had thought about for years. Such as why was it necessary to demand cash from the lads within the Sqn for "€œextra messing"€ ? The best answer the SQMS could give me, was that it was for cooking oil, eggs, salt, ketchup, etc. I reminded him that if we were trg in bks, we would not be charged for such items, and that the Sqn cooks should therefore go and ask the Depot kitchen for such items - as the Depot would be "€œscaled"€ (budgeted) to feed us that w/e, but would be relieved of the responsibility, as we were in the field. The Sqn was not asked for "€œextra messing"€ again.

I still remember the ACC protestations before deploying into the field for annual trg, in the second year. The "€œlosses"€ had been so great the previous year (my first as OC), that I instructed the SQMS to ensure the ACC signed for all the (G1098?) kit with which they were issued. They may have protested, but every nail brush, potato peeler, etc, was returned to the stores!

With no wish to de-rail this thread of recollections, there is the opportunity to kick-start another thread in which I was particularly interested . . .

RCT(V) wrote in Restructuring the Corp said:
. . . . .The recognition that the RLC has too many disparate and diverse skills, trades and roles is a good start . . . .

Purple "€œJointery"€ has come a long way in the last 10-15 years, and where there is a common purpose, role, "€œJointery"€ seems to work well - if only forced upon those concerned because of the overall lack of numbers in machinery, equipment, personnel or finance. Examples being such as the "€œJoint Force Helicopters"€; and (even more so because of necessity), the "€œJoint Harrier Force"€œ. It is understood that we also have close co-operation between the three Services'€™ Medical services.

It is suggested that a joint catering organisation, is an obvious "€œno brainer"€ of an idea for "€œJointery"€. Whilst the traditional different places of employment obviously differ (from, the smell of the "€œbriny"€ with a cooking range being pitched up and down with the ship by the waves; to the unwanted inclusion of sand, leaves and insects in the field; to the salubrious comfort of an air base), the core skills, role and esprit must be common throughout the three Services. In addition however, it is suggested that to be detached with the actual Chefs (ACC), would be the bakers, butchers and "€œpurchasers"€ from the old RAOC. Whilst they would presumably revert/reclaim their earlier title of ACC within the new joint organisation, others can play with the possible acronyms - made all the more interesting with the possibility to include "€œvitualing"€ . . . . .

Unless something has been omitted, all the contributory individual Corps and their distinct functions; the specialist Postie and AT trades/functions; and, the specialist baker/butcher/etc trades/skills from the RAOC; have all been identified and separated-out, with suggestions for more logical, identifiable efficient, associations, assimilations, and recognisable organisations . . .

Restructuring the Corp
And, on a different theme, from another thread . . .

saintstone said:
Not as strange as it seems, when I was attached to 23 RE in Traz, we went on a bridge camp. The Q dragged us two chefs out to build MGBs, good laugh, loads of fun but knackering after a while, we left 4, yes 4, RE Cpls in the kitchen to cook rice for that nights curry, 3 f'kin attempts it took them even after we had written the bloody instructions down. Just goes to show that catering is a skill, but any **** can build a bridge :wink:

Army Catering Corps
 
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#14
ACC chefs that were supported by their units ,especially workshops or rechy mech camps looked after their troops, in 66 in minden the workshop OCconverted a 3 tonner into a mobile kitchen, stoves ovens ,chip fryer the lot, we even aquired a refrigerated trailer care of the canadians,so my lads got the same food on ex as in camp,on a rechie camp at dorbahn near munster ,Iwas woken up by squeeling, a couple of the lads had liberated a pig from a farm, so porky gave his life for the boys, he was very quickly cleaned and split und hung up in the cooler,visions and rumours of pork chop and roast pork went round the camp at breakfast, unluckily there was a driver from another unit at breakfast, so the good news got back to HQ in munster, n o good deed goes un punished a very pissed off young garrison subaltern turned up with a couple of RPs looking for blood,the troop sgt calmed them down and sent them on their way, I was advised to make sure the dressed and jointed porker was returned to its rightful owner along with 6 bottles of scotch,I would have loved to have seen the german farmers face , when he opened his car door to find the butchered porker laid out on a tarp on the back seat and 4 empty whisky bottles and 2 full ones, after all it was a 7 km walk and 3 rechie mechs and a chef get awful thirsty
 
#16
What Regiment did you belong to? Are your loyalties easily transferred? In the early 90's they made loads of ACC redundant, took away our cap badge and consigned our Corps to history. Do you think that might have affected morale for those who stayed? No they didn't forget thier training but the new guys training was dumbed downby the RLC because in the estimation of the Army the ACC were feeding the troops too well and were fighting to keep it that way. The bean counters have been looking to get PAYD for years, some Top Brass visited 9/12th main kitchen when I was there in 1985 and they were discussing it then, they of course did not seek the opinion of anyone simply visiting the kitchen they of course knew exactly everyone opinion by osmosis - we all know the army is not a democracy!
 

terroratthepicnic

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#17
So the training the chefs recieved in 94 was dumbed down to what those recieved in 93 then?
Even though it was the same instructors and all were being trained at NVQ and B-Tech standards. How is that dumbed down, or were military chefs (all 3 services trained at St Omer at that time) trained better than there civilian counterparts (probably, but I'm biased)?

Because of the civilian qualifications (NVQ & B-Tech) all training is standardised(sp). If anything, I would say training is probably more in depth now, as chefs have to learn about diet (calories/sugars/fats) as well as learning how to cook. Plus they need to have a basic understanding of COSHH.

From your argument, pretty much every chef from Sgt downwards that is serving at the moment, isn't as good as any chef before, because they were not ACC. So I take it by your argument all the Scottish regts are not as good any more as they have all been placed into one large unit.

Get a life.
 
#18
I haven't served since 89, you tell me, were you there during the change? Is there the same espirit de corps?
You'd have to ask the fine old Regiments like the Gordon Highlanders that?
I must have missed the how to cook a frozen pie module in my training, but at least they know how little nutrition there is in it....
 
#19
Learning about calories and diets a new trend in army catering bollocks:lol: an essential part of my training in my apprenticeship in St omer in 58/59 was catering science and diet cookery and management ,at that time all military hospitals had well run diet kitchens, in 1962 I was in charge of staff in the Singapore military hospital diet kitchen, an establishment that was wellknown for its excellent cuisine and services, practises and knowledge that we passed on singapore back then, are still being used in hospitals and clinics in singapore and malaysia today 8) at least they were when we visited old mates there in september lol
 
#20
The formation of the RLC(ACC senior officers selling the corps down the swany believing they would get senior jobs in the RLC suckers) didn't affect the quality of the catering,the redundancies at a similar period did where a lot of quality left realizing they could take a good pay off and find a better paid job outside.This resulted in a lot of gaps in the rank structure which were then filled by some of the deadwood left behind.
 

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