Chefs Cpl Liam Grime, Cpl Chris Morrell and Cpl Ian Mark
winners of 2017’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème
More used to keeping hundreds of RAF airmen and women well fed on a daily basis, chefs Cpl Liam Grime, Cpl Chris Morrell and Cpl Ian Mark recently shot to fame as the winners of 2017’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème.
Having been knocked out in the semi-finals of the previous series, Liam describes how they approached their second chance, “We went back with a new team and said this year that we’ll give it everything that we can, it’s now or never, and we came away with the goods at the end.”
The team are no strangers to high pressure competitions, having taken part in professional competitions across the world, winning a number of awards including gold at the Culinary Olympics.
As part of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team, which is formed of 36 chefs selected from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and British Army, they regularly represent the Armed Forces in world-class national and international competitions. However, the chefs are an integral part of the RAF Odiham catering team, preparing meals daily for over 150 servicemen and women for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The third team member Ian Mark, known as ‘Bear’ is an RAF Chef Trainer at the Food Services Wing, Worthydown, instructing the next generation of RAF Chefs.
Liam says: “Comparing Crème to what we do on a day-to-day basis, it’s very similar in that you’ve got time restraints and deadlines that you have to hit. We have to feed guys on a certain timescale, they’ve got jobs to do and we need to make sure the engineers are back out fixing the aircraft and doing their job.”
“We need to have kit that we can rely on. Foster’s fridges, freezers and blast chillers are something that we use in our kitchen on a day-to-day basis”
Throughout Crème de la Crème, Foster Refrigerator provided all the refrigeration and freezing equipment to help the contestants create their patisserie masterpieces. Having Foster equipment in the kitchens at RAF Odiham, the team’s base, meant that they were used to working with the products, offering a little familiarity and taking some pressure off during the intense competition.
Liam comments: “We need to have kit that we can rely on. Foster’s fridges, freezers and blast chillers are something that we use in our kitchen on a day-to-day basis. Without the security that the equipment is working, it puts a little bit of extra pressure on. With the quality of Foster fridges, it’s one less thing to worry about because we know that the equipment is going to do what we need it to.”
With the Bake Off: Crème de la Crème title firmly under their belts, both Liam and Chris have undergone lengthy tours to the Falkland Islands as part of a team feeding over 800 service men and women each day. On their return, the team has continued to compete in prestigious events with Bear competing in the UK World Chocolate Masters Final and has been selected as part of the English National Team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg. While the entire team took on stiff competition in La Parade des Chefs at Hotelympia earlier this month, pitted against another team to provide a three-course meal for 100 covers.