As Napoleon once said, "An Army marches on its stomach". Feeding the Army is a complex task. As a chef, you will help provide the catering for all the dining facilities in a camp with numbers varying from 80 to 800. Out in the field, you will be cooking using the Army's mobile tactical field kitchen and feeding hungry troops for anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
As a chef with the New Zealand Army, you will be provided with all of the tools of your trade and all the knowledge to use the tools correctly.
You will learn how to operate from one of our Karcher Field kitchens, a tented kitchen, and a fully equipped base kitchen. You will have the opportunity to attend courses and competitions throughout New Zealand and maybe even overseas.
As the Chef trade is part of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment, you may also be trained towards getting your forklift licence and your heavy vehicle licence.
As a Chef, you work on a shift work pattern working with the different kitchens within the camp. You could be preparing for a VIP dinner, or cooking in the camp messes for a couple of hundred hungry troops.
While on deployment, NZ Army Chefs fulfil their usual task of preparing and cooking meals for a range of different units and contingents. NZ Army Chefs deploy on a variety of overseas missions primarily in support of other units and contingents. These can be New Zealand or multinational forces.
During your early years as a Chef you will focus on mastering the art of cooking meals in bulk for hundreds of people. This is where you will develop your trade skills through on the job training. Eventually you will try your hand at cooking more elegant and individually cooked meals within the Officers Mess. As you progress in rank you could hold various key leadership positions within the kitchen, and eventually management positions which can involve working with and managing a large number of civilian staff.
Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.
While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of your Recruit Course you will be paid as a Private and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.
Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:
You will first attend a four week basic course that will familiarise you with the vehicles and equipment used by the Royal NZ Army Logistic Regiment. You may also begin training to gain your heavy trade, forklift, and other driving licences.
You will then spend nine weeks at the Joint Services Catering School in Devonport. There you will learn basic food preparation, food hygiene, knife skills and how to operate the Army's field catering equipment. Then it's back to the camp kitchens to put into practice the skills you have gained.
Your next formal training courses will see you back in Waiouru where you will be taught bakery, butchery and advanced dishes. You will also get to lead a team of cooks in the field providing meals for troops.
The job training courses will give you the opportunity to gain internationally recognised cookery qualifications. Chefs are currently awarded the London City and Guilds Institute Certificate in Food Preparation and Cookery, as well as any awards achieved at national or international culinary competitions.
In New Zealand all chefs can be posted to Trentham Military Camp, Linton Military Camp, Burnham Military Camp or Papakura Military Camp.