Joining as a chef basic training questions

Fort99

Crow
I have recently completed my AC in Scotland and got my start date for phase 1 basic training in pirbright starting on the 8th of September.

My job role is a chef in the rlc and wondered if they taught you how to drive/ helped you get your driving licence in basic training like other job roles such as infantry? If not will they help you learn or pay for it?


Also if anyone could give me an insight to what postings are like as a chef and if they are regular as I have heard different things.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
I have recently completed my AC in Scotland and got my start date for phase 1 basic training in pirbright starting on the 8th of September.

My job role is a chef in the rlc and wondered if they taught you how to drive/ helped you get your driving licence in basic training like other job roles such as infantry? If not will they help you learn or pay for it?


Also if anyone could give me an insight to what postings are like as a chef and if they are regular as I have heard different things.
The RLC do prefer their chefs to be drivers, it makes it easier on the other lads, after all there's nothing like a 6 hr drive to location and then setting up a field kitchen, only to start cooking straight away to make you feel part of the team. Seriously though, yes, chefs will go on a driving course at some time, just not necessarily at Phase1/2 stage, itmight have to wait until you get to your unit.
 
Not sure why you had to reply like that... I was just asking for a bit of an insight but fair play, cheers for being no help at all
Actually, he probably did give you a bit of an insight...

He was joking, because (unfairly, IMHO), Army chefs have a reputation of producing crap, bland food. So although he was joking, chefs sometimes get a hard time from the other lads.

However, when on exercise or operations, it all changes and the lads are really grateful for some hot food when they're cold, wet and tired. Or hot, sweaty and tired even. In my own experience, the chefs attached to my regiment in Bosnia did a fantastic job. When they were back in Germany and cooking breakfast at 0500 still pissed from the night before, not so much.

But you'll probably have less of that because of the Pay as you Dine thing and contractorisation, which is well after my time, so someone else can comment on that.

@Joker62 is a graduate of the Army Concrete Company's training school. He may be able to fill you in on some details. (From 20 years ago :) )
 
“You aren’t a chef, you’re a ******* cook!” (With apologies to FM Sir Peter Inge, St Omer Bks, sometime in the 80s)

Seriously - you’ll get metric shit tons of flak - ‘Ah cannae cook’, ‘Aldershot Concrete Company’ etc but I’ve never been let down by Army caterers.

Well once, but that’s another story.....
 
I have recently completed my AC in Scotland and got my start date for phase 1 basic training in pirbright starting on the 8th of September.

My job role is a chef in the rlc and wondered if they taught you how to drive/ helped you get your driving licence in basic training like other job roles such as infantry? If not will they help you learn or pay for it?


Also if anyone could give me an insight to what postings are like as a chef and if they are regular as I have heard different things.
Can't help with your question but don't let the jokes get you down. Army chefs are great, especially on ops/exercise when good food is very very welcome.


I was frequently amazed at the standard af the food they did when they got a chance to let their hair down.


Best of luck.
 
I was frequently amazed at the standard af the food they did when they got a chance to let their hair down.
Dining In Nights and Mess functions used to be an opportunity to show what you were made-of...
 
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Not sure why you had to reply like that... I was just asking for a bit of an insight but fair play, cheers for being no help at all

The poster, @Ex blue job is taking the piss, The old ACC, Army Catering Corps ( Aldershot cement company, Any cnut can cook, Andy caps commandoes, ) done the army proud, on camp and on exercises in the field, every one took the piss out of the cooks, it was a standard thing, a badge of honour if you like, Joke:- How long does it take the human body, to turn good food into shit, answer, 18 hours, and the,.... ACC 10 minutes, stuff like that. its army banter, piss taking, get used to it, nothing more, you will hear a lot more ,and worse during your service, a lot aimed at you, , take no notice, do not bite, and the very best of good luck ,with wherever your military carrer takes you.
 
I'd say if you don't mind working long hours and still working when the rest of the lads are having a good time say on a Bn sports day or some other regimental event then go for it.

The chefs in our Bn always seemed to be working be it on a battalion BBQ or a Christmas function while everyone else was getting pissed up. On exercise they were always first up in the morning and last to get to sleep at night.
 
I'd say if you don't mind working long hours and still working when the rest of the lads are having a good time say on a Bn sports day or some other regimental event then go for it.

The chefs in our Bn always seemed to be working be it on a battalion BBQ or a Christmas function while everyone else was getting pissed up. On exercise they were always first up in the morning and last to get to sleep at night.

They were always held in the highest regard on exercises, back in the stone age of BAOR.
 
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Fort99

Crow
I'd say if you don't mind working long hours and still working when the rest of the lads are having a good time say on a Bn sports day or some other regimental event then go for it.

The chefs in our Bn always seemed to be working be it on a battalion BBQ or a Christmas function while everyone else was getting pissed up. On exercise they were always first up in the morning and last to get to sleep at night.
It’s hard one because I was interested in doing sports mainly football in the army I didn’t realise this wouldn’t be possible? Thanks for the insight though I appreciate it
 
Army cooks are bloody marvellous. I used to love cookhouse food, there were always plenty of choices so if you did not want, or like, one thing there were always plenty of other choices. And, lets face it no matter how much anyone blusters about the food when was the last time anyone's mum cooked up half a dozen choices for them to choose one from.

Having a three course meal in the middle of a field during a pretend war game is stonking and morale boosting. Parking up a convoy in a motorway service station and one of the cook's breaking out a set of burners and knocking up a stew in the middle of winter, worth its weight. Turning up at the cookhouse at dark o'clock looking and feeling like a turd on steroids and the duty cook asking "what would you really like"? And then making it, fcuking outstandingly beyond words.

Have a read of Sgt Dan Mills book Sniper One he gives highest praise to the slop jockey cook who was with them on active duty in Iraq. The lad prepared and served up meals at all hours, under all conditions, even whilst they were under severe attack.........say's it all, highest praises due.

Cooks; worth every penny of their training, and then some. @Joker62 will get all big headed now for the next week;)

It is not just about sweating over a frying pan, but will teach you lessons about catering management if you pay attention. My dad's brother, joined becasue the old man joined, he had all his City & Guilds in cheffery before he joined so he flew through basic, made Cpl in rapid order and stayed for 6 years. He wandered off to Australia where he joined a hotel group as Chef in a hotel and within a couple of years was the head chef for the whole hotel group. Did very nicely for himself.
 
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Fort99

Crow
Army cooks are bloody marvellous. I used to love cookhouse food, there were always plenty of choices so if you did not want, or like, one thing there were always plenty of other choices. And, lets face it no matter how much anyone blusters about the food when was the last time anyone's mum cooked up half a dozen choices for them to choose one from.

Having a three course meal in the middle of a field during a pretend war game is stonking and morale boosting. Parking up a convoy in a motorway service station and one of the cook's breaking out a set of burners and knocking up a stew in the middle of winter, worth its weight. Turning up at the cookhouse at dark o'clock looking and feeling like a turd on steroids and the duty cook asking "what would you really like"? And then making it, fcuking outstandingly beyond words.

Have a read of Sgt Dan Mills book Sniper One he gives highest praise to the slop jockey cook who was with them on active duty in Iraq. The lad prepared and served up meals at all hours, under all conditions, even whilst they were under severe attack.........say's it all, highest praises due.

Cooks; worth every penny of their training, and then some. @Joker62 will get all big headed now for the next week;)
Thanks for that it’s good to finally have some positive feedback on chefs in the army even if most of it is all banter... I’ll definitely give that book a read, thank you
 

Fort99

Crow
I'd say if you don't mind working long hours and still working when the rest of the lads are having a good time say on a Bn sports day or some other regimental event then go for it.

The chefs in our Bn always seemed to be working be it on a battalion BBQ or a Christmas function while everyone else was getting pissed up. On exercise they were always first up in the morning and last to get to sleep at night.
The long hours seem a bit of a con but I suppose every job has it’s cons as long as It’s rewarding with different postings/ day to day stuff then I’m happy
 

Fort99

Crow
The RLC do prefer their chefs to be drivers, it makes it easier on the other lads, after all there's nothing like a 6 hr drive to location and then setting up a field kitchen, only to start cooking straight away to make you feel part of the team. Seriously though, yes, chefs will go on a driving course at some time, just not necessarily at Phase1/2 stage, itmight have to wait until you get to your unit.
Sounds tough and that’s not a bad thing as I still have 8 points on my provisional driving licence unfortunately:/ thanks for your help though much appreciated
 
The long hours seem a bit of a con but I suppose every job has it’s cons as long as It’s rewarding with different postings/ day to day stuff then I’m happy
Don't worry about the long hours too much.

There is usually one cook on earlys and another on lates with the rest slotting in between those hours.

The early bloke has to get breakfast on the go so it is all ready to be served at whatever time the doors open. He may also have to deal with a crew who has to move out expecially early so will knock out a fry up for them too.

The bloke on lates tends to stay till about 7pm - 8pm depending on how many are booked in, or expected for late meals. When I was at the Depot on permanent staff I, and most others, used to be booked for permanent lates as that way we avoided all the recruits rushing around. The added bonus was that a couple of the cooks were single blokes from the permanent staff accomodation block too so if we wanted to cook out own nosh they happily let us get on with it as long as we cleaned up after ourselves.

Being on exercise and away on active duty it gets a bit more stretched as it is a 24 hour a day thing. Ours used to be banging out all day breakfast, steak and kidney pie and chips, or sweet and sour pork, followed by rice pud, or some cake with custard. Nothing like fried breakfast followed by chocolate steamed pud with chocolate custard.

You could do a lot worse young man, I wish you luck. Just remember though that squaddie who just talked down the food you cooked may have been getting shot at half an hour ago so don't have a go at him.
 
Long post incoming :) OP, back when Jesus was a nipper my driving licence was done under my unit MT section, on the side. I never worried about it. But unfortunately, some of us have been out for far too long to give you any up to date pointers. Good luck with your career and you'll find that a sense of humour and banter are part of the package. But catering/cooking is a valuable professional technical trade. If that's what you want then you go for it mate.

By the way, aeons ago, military Chefs played sports at lunchtimes and they were released for sports teams. E.g. boxing, footer, rugby, Badminton (plus a lot of running, and more running). That could very well still be the case.

From what I saw in twenty years, military Chefs are vital people whose job isn't just serving up the scran, and they work hard over long hours in various conditions and theatres. Some went back to depot as DS instructors. Others went out to units as Chefs on home or overseas postings.

And like they say above - when it's sunny and the pop's flowing outside, you might be in uniform working. First in and last out. There are a few of us old sweats on here who've been out for years but - for up to date gen - maybe there are a few serving. It's true to say though, that military Chefs learn and gain catering skills and experience not often found in civvy street.

You won't just be a Chef: you'll have the duties and responsibilities of a professional caterer. If, after basic, you master your primary trade, keep your nose clean, put yourself out and continually develop your cooking and catering skill sets, you can't go far wrong. I still see Chefs now and most of them work long hours, military or not. They've their own portable toolbox with all their own gadgets, Gucci knives, and tools they've collected. They're just like any other professional tradesman/ woman/person worth their salt.

The really old and bold didn't have Youtube or the Internet back in the day, but you have. Maybe see what the modern generation have to say:

Youtube
RLC Chef
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Thanks for that it’s good to finally have some positive feedback on chefs in the army even if most of it is all banter... I’ll definitely give that book a read, thank you
There really aren't any books on army catering or even collections of tales dedicated to them but they usually get a mention and whilst they are often the butt of jokes they are also to be cherished! Lets face it the RLC doesn't really want the chefs and will dick them about but frankly we liked almost all of ours and we kept some smashing ones with the Bn on posting.
 

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