A team of top chefs from the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force have flown the flag for Great Britain storming home with 12 gold medals at the World Culinary Olympics.
The World Culinary Olympics are held every four years and attract more than 42 countries each competing at the very highest level. The competitors are judged by WACS (World Association of Chefs Society) accredited judges, who demand the very highest standards of global culinary excellence. They look for the most creative, innovative and passionate food that can realistically be served in any fine dining establishment throughout the world.
The Combined Services Culinary Arts Team was formed in 1997 to represent the UK Armed Forces in both national and international competitions. They have competed at the World Cup in Luxemburg amongst other national and international events and are selected on the merit of both their culinary and professional military performance.
The reputation of the squad is hugely recognised and respected throughout the culinary world owing to the plethora of medals they have previously achieved. The team competed as team GB in two sections of the competition, 'The Restaurant of the Nations' challenge and the 'cold buffet'. The first part of the challenge involved preparing, cooking and serving 150 covers of a three-course menu suitable for fine dining under test conditions.
The chairman of judges commended the team for their tenacious efforts and methodical manner in which they performed, he further added it was yet again a joy to watch the British Armed Forces team at work.
The second part of the competition involved designing seven three-course menus for static display. These menus had to represent the same standards of the Restaurant of the Nations ensuring each menu was original, innovative, practical and well balanced. One menu included a meal suitable for field catering service, one suitable for vegetarian and one being an exquisite five-course gourmet menu.
The team, governed by Defence Fuel and Food Services, is managed by WO Dale Hegarty RAF and team captain WO2 Simon Atkinson RM who have both served more than eight years on the squad. The remaining team members are of varying rank and experience from Pte to WO and supported incredibly by a small Logistic Team of volunteers whose invaluable input contributed directly to the success of the team.
This is the first time the team has ever achieved "Double Gold" in the Olympics, an outstanding achievement. They were highly commended for their efforts and finished 2nd in the World overall only beaten by the Swiss by 0.7 per cent.
The main team members are WO2 Simon Atkinson RM, WO2 Nathan Kelsey Army, Sgt Smith RAF, Sgt Karl Bartlett Army, Cpl Taff Davis RAF and Pte Candice Kotze Army. The team will resume their normal duties with immediate effect until training workshops begin again in June 2013, in preparation for Hotelympia in London and the World Cup in Luxemburg in 2014.
Accredited Michelin starred chef Simon Hulstone who headed the English National Squad tweeted his personal congratulations to the team. 'An outstanding display of our professionalism and excellence within UK Armed Forces, that demonstrates an ability to directly influence operations and equally compete against some of the finest chefs in the world'.