Joining as a chef basic training questions

Just_plain_you

Old-Salt
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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.
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The PAYD element is a bit of a red herring, contractorisation kicked in long before PAYD, and even in non-PAYD locations (such as phase 1 training) the chefs and kitchens are operated by contractors.

Contract cooking has been around for many years, PAYD just puts the money in the soldiers pocket for them to decide where to spend it and eat.
At one of the pre-HESTIA briefs a Navy or RAF chef (I think it was RAF) asked what his motivation was on go live to ‘work for a contractor’, (because they didn’t have PAYD on site and were switching to PAYD on the day the contract changed)

He failed to comprehend that he was already working alongside a contractor and would just be working with the same civilians on go live. The two differences were that the civilian contract staff would wear shirts with new logos under the name of a new contractor and that under PAYD they needed to make food that the soldiers/sailers/airmen would be willing to hand over their food money for.
His motivation should be to make good food fit for his service colleagues and to be able to make good food under field conditions

The number of actual military chefs has dropped drastically - you don’t need soldiers who specialize in cooking to cook for soldiers, you may as well have cheap minimum wage kitchen staff. But there remains the need to cook when on operations, so there are a number of CCM Core Catering Manpower posts embedded in contract kitchens so that military chefs get to cook on a day to day basis and practice their craft.

In chef training you will be taught to make a variety of meals from a variety of ingredients.
Routine cooking of standard meals from standard ingredients in a standard kitchen for day to day eating, fancy food for special occasions, how use field kitchens and how to improvise, plus how to make the most of limited ingredients on operations to make edible and interesting variable food.

You will probably have to make a cake like these to be able to pass a course (I don’t know if that’s in basic chefing or a subsequent course)

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Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
The PAYD element is a bit of a red herring, contractorisation kicked in long before PAYD, and even in non-PAYD locations (such as phase 1 training) the chefs and kitchens are operated by contractors.

Contract cooking has been around for many years, PAYD just puts the money in the soldiers pocket for them to decide where to spend it and eat.
At one of the pre-HESTIA briefs a Navy or RAF chef (I think it was RAF) asked what his motivation was on go live to ‘work for a contractor’, (because they didn’t have PAYD on site and were switching to PAYD on the day the contract changed)

He failed to comprehend that he was already working alongside a contractor and would just be working with the same civilians on go live. The two differences were that the civilian contract staff would wear shirts with new logos under the name of a new contractor and that under PAYD they needed to make food that the soldiers/sailers/airmen would be willing to hand over their food money for.
His motivation should be to make good food fit for his service colleagues and to be able to make good food under field conditions

The number of actual military chefs has dropped drastically - you don’t need soldiers who specialize in cooking to cook for soldiers, you may as well have cheap minimum wage kitchen staff. But there remains the need to cook when on operations, so there are a number of CCM Core Catering Manpower posts embedded in contract kitchens so that military chefs get to cook on a day to day basis and practice their craft.

In chef training you will be taught to make a variety of meals from a variety of ingredients.
Routine cooking of standard meals from standard ingredients in a standard kitchen for day to day eating, fancy food for special occasions, how use field kitchens and how to improvise, plus how to make the most of limited ingredients on operations to make edible and interesting variable food.

You will probably have to make a cake like these to be able to pass a course (I don’t know if that’s in basic chefing or a subsequent course)

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Specialised courses, normally at SNCO level. There's also the Catering teams that do exhibitions and competitions although these are now Tri Service.
 
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
Oh hey don't get me wrong mate, I wasn't trying to put you off becoming a chef. It's just that the way I saw it, for the chefs it was a hell of a lot more work than getting to play. Those lads could fecking drink though I'll tell you that, they worked hard and partied hard.

Goog luck to you in your chosen career kid.
 
Some ACC/RLC apprentice chefs have done well. Apparently, one joined in 1971 at Aldershot, was commissioned in 1977, and retired as a Major in 1994. He held divisional directorships in education, healthcare and education, in Europe. Also was a hospitality consultant, sits on Boards, and became the Secretary of the ACC (the Association of the old Army Catering Corps). He started as a buckshee apprentice.

And as I understand it, military chefs have dominated international competitions, and Hotelympia, for many years.
Chefs dish up world-class meals

 
“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've never been disappointed by Army Chefs in camp or in the field. I was nearly always disappointed by those useless ******* in Sodexho/Aramark etc;

Go for it. I predict that when the craze for contractorization has passed, the ACC will rise again and all your catering will come under their management.
 
I've never been disappointed by Army Chefs in camp or in the field. I was nearly always disappointed by those useless ******* in Sodexho/Aramark etc;

Go for it. I predict that when the craze for contractorization has passed, the ACC will rise again and all your catering will come under their management.
Snigger......
 
Dining In Nights and Mess functions used to be an opportunity to show what you were made-of...
One of the Messes I was in after Commissioning was PAYD (Artillery as it happens-they do throw good parties)...but...we had a Cpl Chef who ran our kitchen and a regular cohort of diners-in. The living in officers paid about £1 a day each in 'extra messing'. We took turns to provide the cheese at dinner (usually cost about 8 quid for a good selection and a box of crackers from Tescoaldisainsburylidl which lasted the working week of 4 dinners Mon-Thu). The chef then took our extra money and went out to the farms, butchers etc and did us proud. He said he loved it because the extra money allowed him to show off his trade skills. He was regularly borrowed by the RSM for functions, but the CO wouldn't let him go permanently despite rumours that the RSM was trying to pull strings in RLC manning.
 
I've never been disappointed by Army Chefs in camp or in the field. I was nearly always disappointed by those useless ******* in Sodexho/Aramark etc;

Go for it. I predict that when the craze for contractorization has passed, the ACC will rise again and all your catering will come under their management.
The army would of course need to recruit enough soldiers to have enough spare to do the jobs that were civilianised before they were contractorised, and the government would have to be willing to spend enough money on defence to afford to pay all the soldiers to fill the current gaps and the new increases to manning - either that or soldiers would have to be willing to do soldiering without training, for less money at minimum wage, and end up in fixed positions ... which sounds like civiliansation/contractorisation - or alternatively give the contracted staff some uniforms and call them reservists so that they can work in camp for peanuts and get called up to cook on operations

Either that or have a balance of soldiers, civil servants, contractors and sub contractors to do the various roles
 
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.
What he said...
 
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
Didn't say it wasn't possible mate, if the person running the Bn football team thinks you would be an asset to the team, ways will be found to get you the time off. Saying that though your catering colleagues might have a chunter about you fecking off all the time.
 
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.
An army chef once told me it was easier being a chef in the army than in civvie street, because in the army he had time for things like basketball and sport etc - things he didn’t have time or energy for before he joined. And he had more time off generally than he got in civvie street.


Also met a couple of British army chefs when I lived in Belgium just last year (they were working for various personalities within NATO) and they said it’s changed since I left, but still an enjoyable career.

Whereas to be honest most of the civvie chefs I’ve met have hated their jobs, including my own brother who decided to throw it in to work for Lidl - so maybe the army is the place to be if cooking is your thing :)
 
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When you're cold, wet, tired and about to stag-on, the sight of an Army chef knocking-up an egg banjo is enough to bring a tear to your eye.
 
When you're cold, wet, tired and about to stag-on, the sight of an Army chef knocking-up an egg banjo is enough to bring a tear to your eye.
Fear, or joy?
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
One of the Messes I was in after Commissioning was PAYD (Artillery as it happens-they do throw good parties)...but...we had a Cpl Chef who ran our kitchen and a regular cohort of diners-in. The living in officers paid about £1 a day each in 'extra messing'. We took turns to provide the cheese at dinner (usually cost about 8 quid for a good selection and a box of crackers from Tescoaldisainsburylidl which lasted the working week of 4 dinners Mon-Thu). The chef then took our extra money and went out to the farms, butchers etc and did us proud. He said he loved it because the extra money allowed him to show off his trade skills. He was regularly borrowed by the RSM for functions, but the CO wouldn't let him go permanently despite rumours that the RSM was trying to pull strings in RLC manning.
The RSM can try to pull as many strings as he wants, the appointments to Messes is down to the Master Chef. You get posted into a Regt and then you get divvyed out to Messes and such like.
 
When you're cold, wet, tired and about to stag-on, the sight of an Army chef knocking one off into an egg banjo is enough to bring a tear to your eye.
HTH
 

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