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In conversation with CSCAT - Culinary World Cup Competition 2022

22nd December 2022

We caught up with Sgt Liam Dummelow, Team Captain of CSCAT and Johnathan Smith, Team Manager of CSCAT, to congratulate them on their success in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg. The team took home two silver medals - Community Catering Challenge (hot kitchen) and Regional Team (cold table).

Find out what the team had to say below:

Sgt Liam Dummelow

Team Captain, CSCAT. Catering Flight, Officers’ Mess Kitchen, RAF Marham 

Q) How different is it being the team captain to being a team member?

You will typically start as team member, then depending on skillset you will move to head of section then onto Vice Captain or Captain. So, the goal is the same, and that is to showcase military cooking and abilities. As Team Captain it is you who has the final say on what is produced. A good captain will have their own vision but will be smart enough to listen to their heads of sections to further develop ideas.  

Q) The team moral was very high going into the world cup, how do you as captain keep that moral high during a long tough few weeks?

It's very easy to do as everyone is happy to be there. Like anything you need to monitor your team and know when to let off the gas pedal. When timeframes are a little looser, we work hard play hard and have always been very good to keep moral high through that way of working. 

Q) 2 Silver medals is a great result for the whole team, were you happy with the result?

As a team we are very happy with that result, we have had huge setbacks over the last two years which have really tested us as a team, let alone me as a Team Captain. Despite all, we achieved double silver in a major international competition. that Will never be looked at lightly.  

Q) What stood out as the highlight of the world cup experience for you this year?

Standing back and seeing the pure passion coming from the team before, during and after both events was outstanding and made me extremely proud to be a part of CSCAT. Everyone was so proud of what they achieved. so much so, menu planning was happening for the Culinary Olympics 2024 on the drive back to our accommodation. 

Q) After receiving the judges debriefs after the community challenge and cold table, what learning points did the team take away from the judges feedback?

On the cold table we were commended on how well presented our food was and how appealing it was to the eye; the skill level was huge. We learnt from the feedback that we should listen to ourselves more and not others. We previously took certain skills away from certain plates as we were told they wasn't needed. Suggestions were made by judges to enhance some plate and the suggestions were what we were originally going to go with. Moral of the story is to trust your own instinct. 

For the hot kitchen we took away that wording on the menu can have a big impact and again trust your instinct on the brief. 

Q) Looking ahead to the Culinary Olympics in 2024, what happens now for the team? And how do you get ready in a quick turn around?

A new team is selected in January, this will provide us with some more junior chefs to mentor. Soon after that we will meet for a week to discuss menu planning as the brief will soon be released. Many of us have deployments overseas coming up so the struggles already have started. 

Q) What would you say to any young or seasoned chef within the Armed Forces who might be looking to gain selection to the CSCAT team?

I would say well done to have that aspiration. For many Chefs the thought can be quite overwhelming. The best way to find your way onto the team is to compete at Skills Day anf at the Salon Culinaire. Good results get noticed .  A strong work ethic and the ability to write and develop menus is very much needed. 

Warrant Officer Johnathan Smith (Smithy) Team Manager CSCAT

Training Warrant Officer, Food Services Training Squadron (Air) @ the Food Services Training Wing, Defence School of Logistics, Worthy Down, Winchester

Q) How different is it being a team member to managing the whole team?

It was totally different as TM, you really need to have your eyes and ears everywhere to ensure the team have everything they need.(also to manage expectations) As a squad member you can get your rations and crack on with prep.

Q) How long did the team have out in Luxembourg to get ready for the cold table?

We arrived at Diekirch Kitchen 5 days prior to the cold table being presented to set up and take receipt of dry rations etc.

Q) 2 Silver medals is a great result for the whole team, were you happy with the result?

2 Silver medals is a great result at an international event, the team are really heading in the right direction. Previously they were awarded a bronze medal in the CC, so onwards and upwards to Stuttgart 2024. Where hopefully lessons learnt from judges debrief can turn the silver into a gold medal.

Q) What stood out as the highlight of the World Cup experience for you this year?

The team were totally professional throughout, full of enthusiasm. Everyone understood the reasons for being there and helped each other out. (Teamwork makes the dreamwork).

Q) The standard of culinary art was very high this year, what learning points did the team take away from the judges feedback?

I don’t personally think I would change to much from what we did, maybe enhance some garnishes to show more intricate culinary art.

Q) Looking ahead to the Culinary Olympics in 2024, what do the management team do now to get the team in the best possible shape?

It’s the management teams job now to, keep the momentum going! Provide support and advice where needed.

Q) What would you say to any young or seasoned chef within the Armed Forces who might be looking to gain selection to the CSCAT team?

Team selection will happen moving into the NY of 2023, to have the chance of being selected you must compete at your single service competitions and also EJC, this will raise your profile and increase your chances of being selected for CSCAT and hopefully representing the UK Armed forces on the world stage.

 

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