The culinary skills of chefs from HMAS Stirling were on display to a larger audience than usual recently as four Maritime Logistics - Chef sailors took part in the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award.
The competition is dedicated to helping junior and apprentice chefs develop their cooking skills, and Navy was invited to enter a team by event organisers.
The Stirling team consisted of Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Amanda Dunham, Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chefs Paige Large, Olivia How and Joshua Walford.
“At first we were all a little apprehensive to enter as it was something none of us had done before,” Able Seaman Dunham said.
“It was a completely different way of cooking to what we are used to in our job but we decided to give it a go.”
Able Seaman Dunham said it took plenty of thought and head-scratching to plan their menus, and to make sure it all came together on the day.
“There was a very strict ingredients list that we were allowed to use and a requirement was that certain ingredients had to be included in the dish,” she said.
“There were two personnel per team and each team had to select from three choices of protein, pork, lamb or beef.
“Seaman Large and I chose the pork, and Seaman How and Seaman Walford chose the lamb - each team then had three hours to present four dishes consisting of a main and a dessert, using two different types of cuts from the selected ingredients.”
Dishes were then presented to a team of four judges and were tested on taste, presentation and preparation.
While Able Seaman Dunham and Seaman Large’s pork and fennel pie with an almond and herb-crusted pork tenderloin went down a treat with the judges, it was Seaman How and Seaman Walford who took out silver for their lamb rack marinated in a mint and herb compote, and lamb rump with an almond and apricot stuffing.
“It was a fantastic experience,” Able Seaman Dunham said.
“The support we received from our divisional staff and all the Stirling chefs has been wonderful.
“We are all so proud of ourselves for giving it a go and the results were so unexpected.”
The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award national final will be held in Melbourne next month.