A team of two chefs from HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney have turned up the heat during a strongly contested professional cooking competition.
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Mitch Doughty and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Andrew Oliveira make up the team that represented Navy at a recent round of the Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat competition at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.
The Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat is Australia’s longest-running culinary competition for chefs between the ages of 16 and 25 and culminates with a cook-off between the country’s brightest talents at the national final in September. The winning team is awarded the title and a $15,000 culinary prize trip.
Leading Seaman Doughty said the experience of working in a ship’s galley at sea was a big help to the pair during the competition round at Cerberus.
“Some of the judging criteria was slanted towards the way you presented your preparation area whilst creating your dishes.
“A strong seagoing background and being well versed at keeping a galley ‘secure for sea’ paid off for our team as our area was noticeably less cluttered than the other teams,” he said.
Able Seaman Oliveira enjoyed many aspects of the competition including running into some familiar Navy people.
“Catching up with former mentors in Melbourne who are now involved with teaching at the ADF School of Catering was great,” he said.
Although results of the competition won’t be known until further rounds are completed across the country, Navy’s team certainly put forward some impressive food.
“For our entrée we made burnt butter scallop Laksa in a coconut broth while the main was a medium-rare lamb rack with white bean puree, caramelised Brussel sprouts, mint and parsley oil with a red wine jus,” Leading Seaman Doughty said.
“Seeing the other competitors use different cooking methods gave us food for thought and some creative drive to bring some of those ideas back to work.
The pair are both currently posted to the catering unit at Kuttabul’s First Fleet Mess where they share similar interests and a passion for food.
Able Seaman Oliveira joined the Navy in 2014 and has served in HMA Ships Cerberus, Kuttabul and onboard Canberra during Exercise RIMPAC 2016.
Leading Seaman Doughty joined in 2003 and has served in HMA Ships Adelaide (L01), Cerberus, Stirling, Betano (L133), Kuttabul, Assail and Adelaide (FFG01), as well as HS RED Crew and deployments to the Middle East in HMA Ships Melbourne (FFG05) and Newcastle (FFG06).
“It would be great to go deep into the final of the competition and secure a place for Navy,” he said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20182406.