Chef shares secrets at Stirling

Published on LEUT Todd Austin (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Celebrity chef Adrian Richardson with Able Seaman Maritime Logistics-Chef Neil Plunkett and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics-Support Operations Teagan Van Rooyen at the main galley, HMAS Stirling. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
Celebrity chef Adrian Richardson with Able Seaman Maritime Logistics-Chef Neil Plunkett and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics-Support Operations Teagan Van Rooyen at the main galley, HMAS Stirling.

Navy chefs at HMAS Stirling shared tips and secrets from the galley with a fellow professional recently, opening his eyes to the challenges of cooking at sea.

Celebrity chef, Adrian Richardson, was invited by Warrant Officer Maritime Logistics – Chef Sean Ellerton to visit the base and ships alongside to understand the differences to a commercial kitchen.

“When I worked at the Australian Defence Force School of Catering at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria, I was introduced to Adrian who had the opportunity to work with our trainee chefs,” Warrant Officer Ellerton said.

“I asked Adrian if he would like to visit HMAS Stirling, to see the diverse roles and environments that a Navy chefs work in," Warrant Officer Ellerton said.

This was not the first time the TV chef had swapped the kitchen for the galley, as in 2013 Mr Richardson conducted a tour of HMAS Perth on her visit to Melbourne and visited HMAS Cerberus.

At Stirling, Mr Richardson was given the opportunity to get inside the galley of submarine, HMAS Dechaineux, and had a tour at the School of Survivability and Ship Safety – West which trains Navy personnel in firefighting and damage control techniques.

“I was impressed with the size of the galley and how the chefs work in such an enclosed and restrictive environment, and how quietly they had to work, which goes against the normal commercial kitchen environment which can be rather loud,” Mr Richardson said.

“It’s eye opening that a Navy chef is also involved with teaching firefighting, damage control and more, above their core role as a chef.”

A walk through of the Sir James Stirling Mess/Galley and Junior Sailors' Galley was also conducted, before taking the time to share his experiences both as a chef and as a celebrity with the hospitality and catering staff. The Navy team had one up on their civilian counterpart, as he commented the storage space in the Junior Sailors' Galley was enviable, wishing he had a fraction of the room at his own bistro.

There are currently 28 chefs onboard HMAS Stirling, serving approximately 2,800 meals every week.

During his visit, the Commanding Officer Stirling, Captain Angela Bond, also took the opportunity to presented Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Steward Tamara Hall and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics – Chef Cyndy Brennan with the Australian Operational Service Medal. 

Mr Richardson summed up the whole day as "a great experience" and thanked all those involved.  He is the owner of La Luna Bistro in Carlton, Victoria, and chef from the television shows ‘Good Chef, Bad Chef’ and 'Secret Meat Business'.