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Taking cooking for the navy to the next level

Becoming a chef in the navy takes more than you might think."

Food is the fuel that enables our bodies to perform at its best - something Australia's navy clearly supports, as four chefs from the HMAS Stirling entered the Nestle Golden Chef Hat Awards in July 2016. 

Showcasing just how apt they are with a spatula, the foursome stunned both audience and judges with their culinary skills as they presented scrumptious pork and lamb dishes. The team even took away silver for their red meat creation, emphasising that delicious nutrition is a focus within the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). 

The competition's grand finale will be held in Melbourne in September 2016 and is certain to highlight how dedication helps achieve success. But what does it actually take to become a high-achieving chef within our navy? 

What does it actually take to become a navy chef?What does it actually take to become a navy chef?

What does it take to get in?

First things first; before getting anywhere near competition-winning status, you need to get into the RAN. This is what it takes to get into the navy:

To be eligible for service, applicants must be between 17 and 54 years old(some nontechnical ranks allow reserve applicants who are up to 61 years old) and have passed Year 10 in English, Mathematics and, ideally, Science. To cook for the navy, you must also provide evidence of a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery and two years experience. Australian citizenship is a non-negotiable requirement, as well as a series of background checks to ensure appropriate security clearance.

Moving to one of the focal points, psychological and aptitude testing - including verbal, numerical and spatial capabilities - is yet another essential challenge in addition to the physical examination. To successfully pass the navy training tests, applicants must further be able to swim 10 metres underwater, 50 metres in three safety strokes and tread water for 15 minutes.

Joining the Royal Australian Navy takes more than physical testing.Joining the Royal Australian Navy takes more than physical testing.

Cooking for the navy

So once you've made it past the testing and into the job, what does it take to cook for the navy? Well, there is a plethora of responsibilities and tasks included in the job. 

Generally, as chef for the navy, you will prepare four meals per day in a rotating shift system, working with a team of eight to provide food for 150-220 personnel. Your are also required to ensure the smooth sailing of several additional duties, including:

  • Compiling provisions orders. 
  • Budgeting for all provisions.
  • Planning all menus.
  • Preparing and presenting a variety of nutritious food.

In some cases, chefs are also trained to take on other roles in addition to their core responsibilities - such as being part of the medical emergency, flight deck or ceremonial team. 

The Stirling navy base is the largest of its kind and houses more than 3,400 people.

The HMAS Stirling

Our story started with a team of chefs from the HMAS Stirling, so let's take a look at the base and see what made these high achievers' success possible.

Honouring Captain James Stirling, a naval officer who initially landed on the island in 1827,  in name, the Garden Island site was home to one of the first European settlements in Western Australia - founded in 1829. The base is the largest of its kind in the RAN and houses more than 3,400 people in total and was started to be built in 1973. Its dominant purpose is logistical and operational facilitation for all RAN vessels in Western Australia. 

As the base not only symbolises a piece of Australian history, but also exemplifies dedication to our country, the personnel at Stirling encourage visitors to come for a viewing. In July 2016, the HMAS Stirling opened its gates to Australian families during Family Day.

This, according to Captain Delamont, the current commanding officer, was aimed at highlighting what happens at the base and how to get involved. Various activities were provided on the day, including the showcasing of the Stirling Armoury, Submarine Force and Australian Clearance Diving Team Four. 

Garden Island welcomes visitors during daylight hours.Garden Island welcomes visitors during daylight hours.

Can you come take a look during the year?

Now, if you are curious to explore what the picturesque Garden Island actually looks like on other days, you are in luck; the majority of the island is open to the public during daylight hours year-round. Rangers from the Department of Conservation and Land Management patrol the area, so it is important to stick to the rules set to ensure the unique environment remains intact. Once you have made your way to the tranquil piece of land, you can enjoy beaches with a picnic and surf, or explore the original settlement of Captain Stirling at Cliff Head. 

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture. For more information on the best backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214 FREE.

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