UK Government

Ministry Of Defence: Christmas cheer for families of troops on overseas operations

Press Release   •   Dec 09, 2009 11:37 GMT

Festive food was on the menu for wives and families from three RAF Regiment squadrons who took part in a Christmas-themed Ready Steady Cook-style competition today.

Three teams of forces families, helped by a military chef, were challenged to prepare and cook a two-course meal fit for our troops using the 10-Man Operational Ration packs that are used by military chefs in Afghanistan.

It was organised to show families of troops serving in the RAF Regiment’s 2 Squadron, 15 Squadron and 27 Squadron the ingredients used by skilled military chefs and to get a flavour of the food that troops eat in Afghanistan.

Yvonne Hamilton and her children Scott, aged 10, and Shannon, aged 13, took part in the event. Yvonne's husband Dave is with 27 Squadron and has been on operational duty in Afghanistan since July. She said:

"This isn't the first time my husband has been away on duty over Christmas but it is still important to know that he is being fed well. I have really enjoyed today's event and it has been great for the kids to see what their dad is eating when he is away.

“It provides us with reassurance to know that he is having a hot meal at the end of the day when he is at back at camp - if he ever tries to complain about food when he is there I will know he talking rubbish as the food that they are providing is brilliant."

The winning team was lead by SAC Nathan Spin, who has recently returned from Afghanistan. His team produced a delicious chicken dish and made an apple and pineapple crumble.

He said:

“I am delighted with the result especially as I was quite nervous beforehand. Cooking on operations is always very challenging because of the conditions we face, but it’s what we are trained for, to keep moral up during the tough times.”

Captain Jeremy Rigby RN, Defence Equipment and Support Team Leader for Defence Food Services, who attended the event said:

“It is our priority to ensure that our service men and women are given fresh, tasty food and that they are able to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner over the festive period.

“We wanted to give these families an opportunity to see how we go about cooking the food that their loved ones eat whilst they are away from home. I think that they will have left feeling reassured that they are being well looked after.”

Notes to editors

1. For further information contact Hannah Swingler from the DE&S Press Office on 07810 237923.

2. Pictures and Video of the families competing at the event and eating the Christmas lunch can be found on or by calling the Defence Picture Desk on 0207 218 6401.

3. The three teams were:

  • Team 1 – Yvonne Hamilton and her son Scott, led by chef SAC Max Baldwin

Menu - Naan bread, Keema Curry and a fruit slice.

  • Team 2 - Shannon Hamilton led by SAC Christopher Beavis

Menu - Beef, onion and mushroom pie with dauphinose potatoes, currant ribbons, sautéed cabbage and chocolate sponge with a basil cream and praline.

  • Team 3 - led by SAC Nathan Spink who was joined by his grandfather Michael Spink and Dawn Heeslip.

Menu - Spicy Chicken Supreme with noodles, Danish hot pot and savoury rice, apple and pineapple crumble


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