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Culinary Challenge Combined Services
Article Type: Conference reports From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 38, Issue 3.
Competition and Exhibition 30 October to 1 November 2007 Sandown Park Esher Surrey
This is the annual event where chefs from Her Majesty's Armed Forces compete in various competitions. The feeding of troops in the Armed Forces is of supreme importance both to levels of effectiveness and morale. Food must be nutritionally adequate plus tasty and at times easy to prepare and transport often by the troops themselves in ration packs.
The chefs from the three services competed in:
A live theatre where 18 individual teams competed on six workstations.
Field Team Challenges where teams of two chefs prepared cooked and presented a two course meals for 20 covers using basic ingredients from ration packs. This was made as real as the actual field situation as possible with chefs working outside in portable field kitchens in a tented area of the exhibition. The meal prepared had to be an everyday meal which was acceptable to the personnel working in field operations and had to include two choices of a hot main course which has to include plenty of starchy carbohydrate and a choice of two desserts one of which had to be hot and the other a cold dessert.
Salon Culinaire where teams prepared display meals such as buffets for function catering.
Parade de Chefs where teams of three chefs competed in preparing, cooking and presenting a three course meals for 68 covers.
Static catering displays with nine classes including Centrepieces like ice sculptures, decorative marzipan or pulled sugar, decorative cakes of all types, open decorative gateau, canapés and banquet desserts that were varied over the three days.
International Military Team Grand Prix, which is a bi-annual event where UK teams compete with military chefs from the USA, Hungary and Sweden in preparing a two course meal for two people.
The skills arena, which was a series of demonstrations from 12 chefs from the services, TV and other areas of expertise. Demonstrations included such items as: fish dishes, game as a meal, fruit and innovative ways to use it, avocados and their use in dishes, hot and cold desserts sugar craft, ways with chicken as well as various menu compilations. This event was held for the first time in 2007 and was well attended and found to be useful.
The standards of the teams and culinary experts were superb with an unbelievable and tempting array of items.
Additionally there were various culinary demonstrations on various stands of a small trade exhibition. For anyone with an interest in catering for the forces this is an event well worth attending.