I notice though that none of the competitors are of the Sodexho type which sadly is what a lot of troops face in PAYD. Maybe they should be invited along on a cost challenge to see what could be provided for the most profit and then the world can see what is actually served. Operationaly the food has been brilliant however Chilwell, Lydd, South Cerney, Brize, a bit different (or crap)
This may be true in Helmand, however it does not seem to apply in some godforsaken cookhouse in the middle of nowhere which seems to think it is clever to wrap slices of stale bread in clingfilm and sell it to the troops as "toastie kits" or refuse to open before 8am to feed troops coming in from an all-nighter and demand a nominal roll before "selling" anything .. Oh and "Eggs is orf" cos nobody told me you were coming in..(again!)
My experience of "Pay as you Dine" outside of the major garrisons and operational settings has been uniformly bad across the board. In all cases, the quality and quantity of food has diminished and the level of "service" has dropped from poor to almost non existent. What has really gripped my sh1t is that it seems amost impossible for the CoC to do anything much about it..
I remember a bit of advice given to me as a young subbie by a grizzled QM - "Gaol all cooks every six weeks whether they need it or not.."
Well, well, well, either there are a lot of SO posting on this thread, ignorant of the horrendous drop in standards since PAYD was introduced, or people are wearing their Christmas Blinkers early.
The standards in all main cookhouses (the majority of which are loss making) dropped immediately with the introduction of PAYD. WO & Sgts Mess (normally a profit maker) and Officer's Mess (always in profit) standards have generally not dropped, the Sgt's Mess because we are all simple in our demands.
Most JNCO chefs in charge of mess kitchens are 'thrusters' but hate getting sent to the Mess; why, because we (SNCO in general here, don't take it personal) ask for stuff like, fish finger sandwiches. Officers mess, which normally cook strictly to order and have minimum wastage, are where a thrusting young RLC chef can be challenged and feel he is being developed, as he produces complex menus to (normally, there's always one numpty) a standard which a civilian restuarant would have trouble meeting.
Operational cooking has always remained of an exceptional standard, even though KBR are trying their best to f**k it up. Those locations without civvi influence are some of the best, but you can expect no more when people have had to adapt the military budget to gain 'better value for money'.
*Obviously, for all those journo's reading this, all of the above is my own opinion.
Having just had the pleasure to check over our box of emergency 24 hr rat packs for out of date stuff, there's not a single long life sandwich there. Plenty of other good stuff though. The tuna pasta was outstanding, possibly because it was still in-date by one year (can't take risks).
I've always been impressed with the military chefs. Bosnia: tinned sausage and white cabbage served ten different ways was a fekkin masterpiece.
When the mess first went to contract, I would have dearly loved to have jailed the chef, except she cried when I suggested the food needed more work.
IMO. PAYD is shite and needs binning, however that is unlikely to happen. The biggest drama in the scoff house here is that there is the square root of **** all left after 10 mins. This drama is raised at every mess meeting and every time the civvie fucktards response is 'the chefs have to cook whatever's on the menu within 12 mins'. However they can't ******* do that if there's no ******* food, can they?
I really do feel for the chefs here, they have us getting pissed off with the shite food and lack thereof and the civvies are blaming them for all the failings and all they want to do is cook mega scoff that we all enjoy.
I admit that things have changed since 'my day', civvy cateters just coming into some establishments as I came into civvy street.
One thing which was usually guaranteed (before PAYD obviously) was that whatever your posting, scran was good and plenty of it.
However I would think the haverbag rations have kept their untouchable standard ?!
As a TA type who left in 2006 just as PAYD was coming in, I do wonder if the difference in scran, when served at home bases, as opposed to frontline areas, is down to the bases being staffed by Sodexho, and the front lines being staffed by RLC types, who may appreciate how uplifting it is to get an egg banjo at silly o'clock, after a night out in the rain?
As a cadet we had the usual two choices, take it or leave it, my first experiences of military cooking were at various pre-RCBs, where food ranged from very good, Browning Barracks, to edible, Buller Barracks, (where I was told the newly qualified ACC cooks started).
For myself, having seen it from both sides of the servery, albeit in a small capacity, I don't believe that a civilian cook can realise the difference good and readily available food can make to one's day.
I hope horror bags have not deteriorated to the point where they are edible, characters don't build themselves.
PAYD is, IMHO, uniformly poor; to try to pretend that the Officer's Mess is somehow a bastion of haute cuisine under PAYD is to wilfully ignore the truth...
The catering standards at MoD Corsham's Officer's Mess are diabolical, whch probably explains why no fecker ever goes in there for scoff. I refuse to purchase anything off the retail menu on the principle that it is merely adding to Interserve's profits. The core menu is not good but at least you are paying pennies for crap.