Soldiers from the North Yorkshire-based Royal Lancers got their teeth into healthy eating in June by taking part in a contest judged by their chain of command.
In the Ready Steady Lancer event in Catterick Garrison, teams of four were tasked with cooking a range of nutritious meals, in 90 minutes, using ingredients that were only confirmed on the day.
The personnel involved, who were supervised by chefs from the Royal Logistic Corps, all lived in single accommodation on camp, where the temptation can be to resort to takeaways after a hard day at work.
The competition was the brainchild of Staff Sergeant Holmes, the Unit Catering Manager, who said: “What we’ve been demonstrating to the soldiers is healthy eating and how to cook. We are trying to pass our knowledge on as chefs to them.
“In terms of ingredients, it was like a mystery box. We gave them portions of salmon, chicken, and loads of vegetables. We told them that they had to produce starters, main courses, and desserts. To throw in a curveball, we also told them that they needed to make a vegetarian option with just an hour to go.”
The results were impressive, especially considering that many of the troops involved had minimal knowledge of cooking before they took part in the contest.
Participating teams were judged on organisation, menu design, cooking skills, meal production, and presentation.
Some of the most appetising dishes included lemon and herb chicken skewers for the starter, creamy chicken, leek, and asparagus pasta for main course, and Eton mess for dessert.
The Army’s 'Healthy Soldier Cookbook', designed to help soldiers cook in single living accommodation and featuring recipes from Michelin Star chef Adam Gray, is available on the Army website.