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Royal Navy: Caterer or chef

Are you interested in becoming a top class Chef and Catering Manager?

If the answer is yes, then the Royal Naval Catering specialisation (an element of the RN Logistics Branch) could provide the ideal career for you.

Royal Naval ships can be found in all corners of the world and there are shore bases in the UK and abroad. Without exception wherever men and women are serving they have to be fed and the importance of having highly professional Chefs and Caterers is essential for the Royal Navy to perform its operational role efficiently and effectively.

Chefs and Catering personnel, from the lowest level, are routinely involved in cookery and catering accounting functions. The specialisation is responsible for ordering, receipt, stowing and maintaining the required stockholdings for provision of a balanced diet commensurate with the ship's programme, at all states of readiness, up to 120 days. Storeroom maintenance, stockroom rotation and budgeting are all included in these responsibilities, as well as negotiating with Chandlers and Ship's Agents for food supply.

Catering Accounting is conducted on the TRICAT computer system for which staff have full system management responsibility. Dining Hall management and Food Hygiene training for all personnel involved in food handling, including Communal Party nonspecialists, are within the remit of the Catering specialisation.

In event of Disaster Relief operations overseas, Catering Staff organise Field Kitchen facilities. During shore employment, personnel would often expect to work with contractor staff and be involved in contract supervision at the Senior Rating level.

At sea Catering personnel are involved in many non-trade tasks, including NBCD, Seamanship evolutions, Flight Deck Management, duty rosters and husbandry. The Catering department has a particularly heavy commitment to Damage Control roles at sea.

Qualifications
To join the Royal Navy as a Chef you need to be aged between 16 and 37. You do not need any special educational qualifications, it is more important that you have the right qualities. However, a good general education is essential because the training is demanding, but with effort and determination you can succeed. You will have to pass a selection test, interview and medical examination.

The test is based on Reasoning, Numeracy, Literacy and Mechanical comprehension.

The selection test and interview gives you the chance to see if life in the Royal Navy is for you, just as much as it gives us a chance to see if you have the right qualities for the job.

Basic Training
The Navy has its own way of doing things and its own traditions and does not expect anyone to walk in and pick up these things immediately. So, if you are selected to join the Royal Navy as a Chef you will be fully trained in your task and in the naval way of doing things. The first step is to learn about the Navy, which you will do during your New Entry training at HMS Raleigh, a modern shore establishment at Torpoint in Cornwall. As well as learning the basics of marching, wearing your uniform, naval traditions and history, you will also learn team skills in exercises on Dartmoor and, in order to be an all-round member of a ship's company, you will train in fire-fighting, security, weapons, and in many other skills. The course lasts eight weeks, by which time you will have started to think like a sailor and you can then start your professional training.

Professional Training
You will remain within HMS Raleigh but move to the Royal Naval Logistics School to commence your 20 weeks of professional training.

Training is divided into three sections, the first section of 6 weeks will consist of one week of Key Skills, Food hygiene and Health & Safety theory, Catering Accountancy and Stock Control including computer based accounting practices, the ordering, receipt, issue, stocktaking and custody of provisions. Section two consists of 10 weeks practical and theoretical cookery, incorporating the operation of all galley equipment, Food hygiene, preparation of raw ingredients to meet menu and recipe requirements and the cooking and serving of all classifications of food. The third and final section comprises of 4 weeks practical galley experience in a realistic working environment.