Grub’s up on Queen Elizabeth as chefs serve first meal in galley test
12 December 2016

The sprawling galley on Britain’s biggest warship has been tested for the first time as the carrier’s chefs served a top-notch meal for shipmates.

Around 100 people were fed by 26 chefs and caterers who tried out every appliance, work space and piece of equipment installed in the galley of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Pictures: LPhot Pepe Hogan, FRPU North

THERE’S plenty to go around – no need to fight over it.

Medical assistants PO Elizabeth O'Gorman and LMA Louise Whalley and logistics officer Lt Katy Watts enjoy desert after the first ever meal onboard Britain’s biggest warship.

The grills and ranges were fired up, the ovens and deep-fat fryers switched on and the dining room filled with tempting aromas as HMS Queen Elizabeth’s brand-new galley was tested.

With the move onboard by the ship’s company looming in a matter of weeks – followed by the leviathan’s maiden voyage – the catering department had to make sure all the equipment fitted in the state-of-the-art galley was in full working order.

The team of 26 chefs made use of all the cooking implements, appliances and preparations areas – which meant much more varied lunchtime fare for the 100 or so diners (a mixture of ship’s company and Aircraft Carrier Alliance employees responsible for building the future flagship) than usually on offer.

Chef Sailosi Vatanitawake cooks some sweet potato chips

With a budget of £10 per head, the chefs served Balmoral chicken (chicken wrapped in bacon and haggis), pulled beef, noodle salad, dauphinois potatoes, sweet potato fries, bread, fruit cheesecake and chocolate pudding (inter alia).

“The trial run was a great success and it has put both chefs and the equipment in good stead for when the entire ship’s company are served their first meal on board early next year,” said PO(C) Paul Cummings from Bristol.

“In all my time as a chef in the Royal Navy I have never seen a galley the size of this one, and the range of equipment means our jobs will be made much easier when it comes time to feed the whole ship.

“It was really nice to serve up this meal to a few of our colleagues as we tested the ship’s galley and, judging by the smiles all round, I think they enjoyed it too.”

LCH Wayne Chisholm adds a little spice to the first meal on the carrier

Both Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales – due to be launched in 2017 – have five dining rooms to feed their 670-strong ship’s company… and possibly as many as 1,600 souls when the fast jet and helicopter air groups and Royal Marines are embarked.

“Every sailor in the Royal Navy will tell you how important food is to morale, so it was a real privilege to be part of the first meal on board,” said Lt Watts from Weymouth.

“The food was fantastic and the size of the dining spaces on board are really impressive.

“I think everybody here would give top marks to the chefs.”