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09 Apr 2024

Royal Navy chef named best in the Services

Royal Navy chef named best in the Services
Royal Navy Image
Royal Navy Press Release
A Royal Navy chef has been named the best in the Armed Forces after showing exceptional skill and unwavering commitment while deployed on operations.

Petty Officer Cat Taylor was singled out after patrol ship HMS Trent was widely praised for the quality of its food, especially in challenging or unusual locations – the ship was deployed to West Africa last autumn and has been in Caribbean since December.

Cat, originally from Weston-Super-Mare but now living with her family in Plymouth, was crowned Armed Forces Caterer of the Year 2024 at the prestigious Public Sector Awards in London on Friday.

"I'm still in complete shock if I'm honest, but I am honoured to have been nominated for the award and absolutely blown away by winning,” said Cat, who was named Royal Navy Caterer of the Year in February and subsequently put forward for Armed Forces prize.

“I can't take all the credit though; my team onboard Trent have been truly amazing, and I couldn't have done what I have without their dedication and support… and also, my mum and daughter for always motivating me to keep doing what I love."

Newly-appointed Fleet Caterer, Warrant Officer George Mee, noted Cat’s leadership and unwavering commitment as she and her team upheld exceptional standards of excellence even during challenging deployments – and the complexities of operating off the coast of West Africa.

“Despite limited support and supply obstacles, her innovative menus and the team's evident passion for catering have set a new benchmark for excellence,” George said.

“It is an honour to commend Petty Officer Taylor for her outstanding dedications and hard work, which reflect the highest standards of the Royal Navy Catering Services specialisation.”

George also recognised Cat’s contributions to her unit, branch and the Royal Navy as a whole after edging out fellow chefs from the RAF and British Army to win the top prize.

With only around 50 sailors typically on-board Trent and five caterers, Cat performs one shift in four in the galley alongside her tight-knit team, who are expected to provide three hot meals for shipmates 365 days a year.

She’s also the driving force behind ensuring the finest food is served to guests for the many defence engagement duties the patrol ship performs on patrol, where Trent and her sailors are ‘roaming ambassadors’ for the UK on an almost weekly basis.

Cat joined the Royal Navy 18 years ago at the age of 17 and has served extensively at sea – almost exclusively in Plymouth-based warships, including survey vessels HMS Enterprise and Echo, assault ships Albion and Bulwark, helicopter carrier HMS Ocean and frigates HMS Northumberland and Somerset. For good measure she’s also served at the Royal Marines bases at Stonehouse in Plymouth and Lympstone.

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