RAF Reserves put Jamie Oliver recruits through their paces


505 Squadron Jamie Oliver 15The Royal Air Force’s newest Reservist Squadron (Sqn) – 505 (Wessex) based at RAF St Mawgan recently hosted an exciting ‘boot camp’ event for 28 hopeful trainee chefs.

A series of well planned military activities were part of a selection day process for 16 – 24 year olds who were hoping to join the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Chef programme at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant at Watergate Bay, run by the charity the Cornwall Food Foundation.

The Charity offers the opportunity for successful applicants to gain their NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship in partnership with Cornwall College whilst completing on the job training with professional chefs at Fifteen Cornwall over a 15 month programme.

During this time they gain work experience in top restaurants around the country, take part in sourcing trips to fantastic suppliers as well as a range of social and welfare support to deal with any issues any apprentice may face outside of the kitchen.

The Foundation looks to recruit those who are not in employment, education or training and in need of a second chance. All profits from the restaurant are put straight back into the charity to run the Apprentice Programme, the Schools Programme and it’s outreach community cooking programme ‘FoodWorks’.

505 Sqn personnel, who will start it’s own recruitment selection for ‘Spare Time’ Reserve chefs, drivers and suppliers in the New Year, offered to host this annual event as a series of activities at their home base at RAF St Mawgan.

The well planned ‘boot camp’ put the candidates through their paces, presenting them with a number of challenges from putting up a tent (without instructions!) and participating on a low ropes course, all designed to test teamwork, leadership skills and the ability to follow instructions.

The final activity of the day was situated in a ‘field kitchen’, a military Masterchef task – where the applicants were challenged with creating an imaginative meal from the limited ingredients of a 10 man ration box, within a set time.

Chefs in RAF ‘field kitchens’ offer a very different opportunity to use culinary skills, but also have appreciative ‘dinner guests’ as for service personnel deployed overseas, often in austere conditions, meal times are often the highlight of the day!

505 Sqn Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Mann said; “This has been a great opportunity for us to showcase our military Chef skills, one of our many specialisations, whilst supporting Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall’s selection day”.  

If you have a spirit of adventure and are interested in learning more, please contact 505Sqn-Join@mod.uk                                      

Reserve Forces