Richard: Head Chef, Officers Mess, ESS, Compass Group UK & Ireland and Army Reserve Chef

As an Army Reserve Chef and a Head Chef at Compass Group UK & Ireland, Richard can improvise meals with the bare minimum of supplies as well as cater for functions using the latest in kitchen technology.

Richard always loved cooking, so his career choice was straightforward. Whilst serving as a regular in the Army for 24 years, Richard received all his catering, food safety, IT and health and safety qualifications. When he decided to move into civilian life, that training helped him secure a full time job at ESS, the defence business within Compass Group, the UK’s largest food and support services company. For the last 3 years, Richard has developed his skills through his day job and his role in the Army Reserves.

When in his Army Chef Reservist role, Richard makes healthy, well-balanced meals for soldiers and other Army personnel. He is a Sergeant Chef (kitchen manager), often training other chefs and organising exercises and functions. Richard works anywhere, from a regimental mess to a scratch kitchen in a conflict zone or out of a tent. He is equally at ease cooking for a dozen soldiers or hundreds.

As a Head Chef within Compass, based at the Officers Mess in Marchwood, Richard is in charge of all catering aspects such as cooking, food ordering, food hygiene, health and safety and staff training.

Richard says: “My two roles flow into each other and are hugely rewarding. After exercise where the soldiers have been eating out of ration packs, a plate of warm food certainly puts a smile on their faces. Equally, working for Compass means I learn all about the latest food trends and I get to cook creative dishes. Not every job gives you full satisfaction, but both my jobs do!”