Elior has teamed up with 43 (Wessex) Brigade to host a one-day food fayre to showcase how the military uses locally sourced produce to keep its troops fighting fit.
More than 200 MoD personnel, troops, local producers and press gathered in celebration of some of the South-west's finest food while the contract caterer's consulting executive chef Anton Edelmann judged a cookery competition.
Two teams made up of MoD and Elior chefs battled it out in an operational kitchen in a bid to impress the former Dorchester and Savoy chef with dishes created from the region's local meat and vegetables.
Tastings were hosted by 12 Elior suppliers and local producers including Enterprise Foods with Pullins Bakers, the Cheese Cellar with Quickes Cheddar and John Sheppard Butchers from Bristol.
Michael Audis, chief executive of Elior, said the aim of the event was to generate excitement around local produce among army personnel and their families and also show local suppliers who could potentially supply to the army, that there is a huge demand for local produce.
"Elior provides catering, hotel, leisure and retail services to nine major MoD sites across the South-west and good quality local food plays a huge part in our offer. We cater for around 60,000 local people - civil servants, soldiers and their families," he explained. "We provide food to keep the South-west's soldiers fighting fit and give them the energy they need to complete training exercises."
Brigadier Steve Hodder, Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade - the son of a farmer and a small-hold owner himself - agreed: "The Army does march on its stomach and we perceive that soldiers and their families are becoming more and more interested in the food they eat, its provenance, and nutritional value.
"We believe the South-west has so much to offer in terms of high-quality food from a whole variety of suppliers and we are very keen to try and support these people in our region."
By Janie Stamford
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