The Combined Services Culinary Arts Team (CSCAT) are the very best Chefs selected from the British Armed Forces. This includes a squad of 30 equally selected from the Royal Navy/Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and Army. They are selected to represent the Armed Forces in world-class national and international competitions. Formed in 1997, its purpose is to raise the profile of catering throughout the UK Armed Forces, develop individual team craft skills and aid the recruitment of personnel into the Armed Forces.
2015 begun with an awards dinner to celebrate the selection of new team members, reward the success of current members and to recognise the support of our sponsors. This year the awards dinner was held at Alexis Soyer House, Worthy Down and encompassed some vital preparation for the Junior Parade des Chef team due to compete at the Hospitality Show; Birmingham NEC.
The Junior Parade des Chef team, made up of 5 under 23’s and 1 Senior, had only met 3 days prior and had to quickly grasp the menu prepared by the acting CSCAT captain Cpl Liam Grime (RAF). All members of CSCAT assisted in working them through their paces over the days leading up to the function. The night of the dinner proved successful, not only in a first run through for the juniors but for the entire team. The following new CSCAT members received their selection medals: SSgt Andy Saupe (Army), Cpl Rachyel Ainsworth (Army), Cpl Christopher Beavis (RAF), Cpl Liam Dummelow (RAF), Cpl Paul Henderson (Army), Cpl Ian Mark (RAF) and LCh Shane Rixon (RFA).
During the awards dinner Cpl Liam Grime (RAF) and Cpl Paul Henderson (Army) also received their CSCAT medal, this medal is presented to team members who have competed at both National and International events. Both of these service chefs earned this prestigious award during 2014 where they competed at Hotelympia in London earning 2 silver medals and a best in class; and in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg earning a Gold medal.
Sgt Alun ‘Taff’ Davies (RAF), the current CSCAT Captain, was also presented a CSCAT outstanding achievers award for his dedication and exceptional service to CSCAT for over 10 years; a great achievement and rarely awarded.
The awards dinner concluded with presentations to all of our sponsors, many of whom were in attendance, these include: The Worshipful Company of Cooks, Villeroy & Boch, Dick Knives, Vestey Food Services, ESS and Robot Coupe. Without their sponsorship CSCAT would not be able to continue.
Following the awards dinner; all focus was on preparations for the Hospitality Show, CSCAT had a large number of entries and posed the biggest presence at a National event for a number of years. Cpl Grime and his team of juniors had a number of further run through’s to contend with including a full restaurant service at Brockenhurst college. In addition to supporting the junior’s the rest of the team made haste with their individual events, these included Live classes and Cold work in the Salon Culinaire.
The show began on Monday 19th January, this was the biggest day in terms of commitment from CSCAT and was the day in which the junior team were competing in the Parade des Chef Restaurant kitchen, this involved a full 3 course lunch service for 100 covers. Departing Worthy Down very early in the morning for the drive to Birmingham all hands were required. Once set up the Juniors were soon into the rhythm of food prep working extremely well for a team of 6 that had only met 9 days prior, upon completion of service the judges had made their decision which was announced later that day, Cpl Grime had led the team to Gold. In total over the 3 days of the competition CSCAT had entered 21 categories and had earned 21 Awards as follows:
- Cpl Ainsworth – ‘Major’ Gluten Free Challenge awarded a Bronze.
- SSgt Saupe & Cpl Henderson – ‘Schwartz’ Flavour Challenge awarded Silver and Best in Class.
- Cpl’s David Davey-Smith (RAF), Dummelow and Mark – ‘Terrinex’ Mystery Box Grand Prix awarded Silver.
- Cpl Stefan Sewell (RAF) – ‘Gifre tableware’ Challenge awarded a Certificate of Merit.
- LCh Rixon – Lamb Rack Challenge awarded a Certificate of Merit.
- Cpl Beavis – Duck Breast Challenge awarded a Silver and Best in Class
- Cpl Davey-Smith – Fish Platter awarded Silver and Best in Class.
- Cpl Mark – Chocolate Petit Fours awarded Silver and Best in Class.
- Cpl’s Beavis, Dummelow and Henderson – Restaurant Main Plates were each awarded a Bronze.
- Cpl Alisha Henderson (Army) – Celebration Cake awarded a Participation Award.
- Cpl Mark – Restaurant Dessert Plates awarded a Gold Medal.
- Cpl Tracey Montgomery (Army) and LCh Rixon – Meat Platters were each awarded a Bronze.
- Sgt Tristan Merrick (RM) – Restaurant Fish Plates awarded a Bronze and Cpl Sewell received a Certificate of Merit in this class.
- SSgt Saupe and Henderson – Restaurant Starter Plates each were awarded Silver with Cpl Henderson taking Best in Class, Cpl Dummelow received a Certificate of Merit for his plates in this class.
Overall CSCAT were presented 16 Medals two of which were Gold and 5 Best in Class, a very successful competition for the team and most importantly showing our civilian counterparts what can be achieved as an Armed Forces chef. Well done to all who took part and a very well done to the junior team.