A salute to the boys in the kitchen

January 10, 2011

Jason and Nate

January, 2011. It is a lovely day today. The ‘sun is sunning’ AND the ‘birds and birding’ AND the ‘cooks are cooking’. Nearly three months into our deployment here in Afghanistan and these guys still put out meal after stunning meal. I remain amazed at their ability to plan, prepare and cook up 300 meals at any one sitting per day. (Sgt) Jason Gillespie from Palmy North and (Cpl) Nate Turfrey (Hawke’s Bay) were quite upbeat about their roles when I went to see them, this morning, the beginning of January. I guess that they have to be, cos by now they have had to develop a daily routine that sees them get up at 0500 hours to start a day’s toil that will go through to 1900each night. Stuff that, says I! Minus 15 degree with a wind howling outside, I defy anyone to arise that early to bounce into the day’s work.

These guys have to, for their job is undoubtedly one of morale. Good food – good morale! It follows on a cold winter’s day doesn’t it? Still it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchen staff to perform, and they do… day after day, meal after meal. Their only rewards being either a grunt of some wayward appreciation from a hungry soldier or a purposeful memo of thanks for a notable meal that always gets a smile of appreciation from the ‘lads with the ladles’.

Lunch involves a variety of at least 7 meats together with veges and fresh salads. Food from all over the world comes to us on this mission: Germany, NZ (lamb – what else), Canada, US, Malaysia, and so on… and of course Australia.

Dinner time is the same, but with yet another ‘7 meats’ preparation. Christmas meal involved huge planning over the two days prior to the meal fest that we all totally enjoyed, as well as cooking regular meals for a regular day’s work in Kiwi Base.

Then on top of this, the guys have regular sentry and airfield security duties to undertake as part of their army deployment mission. Its hard work. I’d not want to do it, but the training that they receive from Joint Service Caterers in Waiouru prepares them for this task and they are the better for it. They are doing what all soldiers want to do, and that is work in theatre on an operation. What better one to work on then this one here in Bamyan? Not only do they get to do their job, but they are also training and working with local Afghanis teaching them our ways of ‘life, living and the magic of Kiwi Cooking’!!’



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