Skip to content ↓

The Basildon Academies

Cooking with the Royal Navy

A group of aspiring Academy chefs were joined this week by guests from the Royal Navy: Professional Leading Chef, Mattie Tew and Leading Steward, Kim Barber.

The Challenge: On Your Marks; Get Ready: COOK!

The Upper Academy students eagerly approached the cookery challenge. After being split into two teams, students were presented with a table of food items and tasked with selecting their ingredients.

With just 10 minutes for planning time, the pressure was on! Both groups used the time available to research recipes via the internet.

Each group had to prepare a starter, main course and dessert within a one hour time frame.

Along the way, students acquired new culinary skills and were given advice to help them in their pursuit of achieving high GCSE grades. New techniques were learned such as blanching, poaching and how to cook al dente.

During the challenge, students excelled in their communication skills, and were commended for working as teams and utilising the expert advice given.

Impressively, both teams completed their dishes on time and presentation was superb. The groups certainly rose to the occasion, producing food that that would not have looked out of place in a top restaurant.

In true British Bake-off style, constructive criticism was given by Mattie Tew as he tasted and critiqued each dish. Mattie then spoke at length to the group, with a focus on getting students to think about what they would do in an exam environment and what recipes they might use. He encouraged them to challenge themselves when identifying recipes and seek to go outside of their comfort zone. In addition, Mattie encouraged students to look at time plans, complex methods of cooking and the importance of textures. Students were eager to make notes and gather their thoughts in readiness for the final exams.

During the visit students were also given a talk introducing them to careers available within the Royal Navy.

Student responses to the experience were outstandingly positive. Kai B. in Year 11 enthused: “This was a great experience, I really liked it.”

Billy G acknowledged the hard work that went into the day: “It was a good learning curve and great to work with experienced chefs.”

Alfie I was impressed with his own abilities: “I found it to be a brilliant experience and was very happy with how my Chicken Roulade ‘turned out’.”

Jamie-Leigh got creative with knife skills: “I learned new skills such as how to butterfly a chicken.”

Jay B, Year 10, recognised the value of such a unique experience: “I had a great time. We had the opportunity of doing something new and to meet members of the Royal Navy.”

“I really enjoyed taking part in the challenge. It gave me the chance to learn how to cook and present food to a high standard.”
Sasha D

“It’s good to get out and inspire the future generation. This is a critical industry and people have a stereotypical image of what it’s like to be in the forces. It is good to have the opportunity to explain the diverse experiences the Navy offers, such as providing Disaster Relief, protecting our fisheries and supporting wider services with counter drugs and anti-piracy operations.” Mattie Tew - Leading Chef & Logistics Specialist Recruiter, Royal Navy.

Many thanks to all who took part and made the event such a resounding success!

Click here for photos of the day