Catering Commander Sergeant Nathan Judd and his team of six chefs from the 10th Force Support Battalion are having the experience of a lifetime.
CAPTION: Sergeant Nathan Judd, right, with caterer Private Sam O’Brien in the deployable catering capability during the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program in Gapuwiyak, Northern Territory. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Warrant Officer Class Two Kim Allen.
The dedicated Army chef supervisor and his team are attached to the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) 2022 and Sergeant Judd said the experience was already different to AACAP 2019.
“There is no one in AACAP that is totally the same because there are no two Indigenous cultures, which are totally the same,” Sergeant Judd said.
“I went on AACAP in Jigalong, Western Australia, three years ago, and have been lucky to go again in Gapuwiyak, Northern Territory, this year.
“It’s an opportunity to really immerse yourself in different cultures with different value sets and attitudes… the two can’t compare.”
Adding to the list of differences for Sergeant Judd was an upgraded kitchen facility; the ‘ELC-500’, a new electric deployable catering capability (DCC).
“The DCC is a containerised industrial kitchen capability with the capacity to feed 500 people, or surge up to 800, dependant on what you’re serving,” Sergeant Judd said.
“Compared to a normal field kitchen with roll-top roasters, barbeques and an Aztec burner, it’s a huge difference.
“Essentially, what you see in restaurants is what we have in a readily deployable mobile capability.”
With Sergeant Judd and his team feeding up to 135 people three meals a day, plus contingent and community morning teas, the new kitchen capability is certainly being put through its paces.
“We can produce the same quality in a field kitchen, but in the DCC we can produce it quicker and in higher volumes, and with it being 100 per cent electric we never have to worry about running out of gas,” he said.
“We can also work longer hours due to the comfort provided by the climate control and we can keep cooking supplies longer as the air conditioning increases the longevity of shelf stored products.
“With the DCC, we’re bringing catering into the twenty-first century. We are a highly deployable future-ready capability, with future-ready equipment.”
Sergeant Judd and his catering team are anticipated to stay at AACAP until the end of October, however they hope to stay on longer.
“The team are loving it. They’ve told me that they don’t want to go home,” Sergeant Judd said.
“Cooking aside, they’ve had the opportunity to really get to know the community and immerse themselves with local football, men’s and women’s business and sharing culture and activities.
“The community really know you here. They yell out to you by name.”