Cat’s got the cream! HMS Trent’s caterer named best in the Fleet

Topic: PeopleHonours and awards Storyline: HMS Trent

There are roughly 1,000 chefs and caterers who keep the Navy – and its many allies, guests and visitors – well fed with three meals a day.

And Petty Officer Cat Taylor of patrol ship HMS Trent is the one singled out as the Royal Navy’s ‘caterer of the year’.

Cat, originally from Weston-super-Mare, but now living with her family in Plymouth, will now be put forward for the top prize: Armed Forces Caterer of the Year.
Unlike other contests involving Service culinary experts, the Caterer of the Year title doesn’t just judge a chef or cook on their prowess in the galley, but also their attitude, drive, support for comrades, and leadership.

In awarding the title to Cat, Fleet Caterer Warrant Officer 1 Carl Neville says she has demonstrated both exceptional leadership and culinary prowess.

HMS Trent has been widely praised for the quality of her catering services – especially in challenging or unusual locations (the ship spent the autumn in and around West Africa and is now in the Caribbean, waters normally patrolled by her sister ship HMS Medway).

“The award is a testament to her remarkable culinary talent and leadership qualities. It underlines her significant contributions to the Royal Navy's operational capabilities and welfare for those that are forward deployed,” said Carl.

“This prestigious recognition does not only recognise individual accomplishments but also shines a light on the collaborative ethos and teamwork that are the hallmarks of every galley.”  

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.

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

“I am truly humbled to have been awarded Royal Navy Caterer of the Year,” said Cat.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would receive such an award but I couldn’t have achieved what I have without my department. They have played a huge role in our successes, always having my back, working hard and sharing in my love for food!”

Her shipmates are delighted for her.

“Petty Officer Taylor is not only a great caterer, producing delicious meals, but a fantastic senior rating who has been a real role model for me in my first sea draft,” said Logistician Gregory Fawcus who looks after HMS Trent’s stores.

Correspondence officer Lieutenant Braddan Baillie added: “Petty Officer Taylor’s food is the best in the RN – as my waistline can attest!”

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.

"Our branch boasts remarkable talents – and Petty Officer Taylor is a shining example," Carl stressed. "Her dedication, stellar performance, and passion for her role sets such a high benchmark.  Her contributions showcase the exceptional standards and devotion our catering teams are capable of, and as such we recognise the impact this has on the morale component of operational capability."

Trent’s Commanding Officer Commander Tim Langford presented the senior rating with her award… which, in suitably humble fashion, she credited largely to her team’s support and unwavering dedication.

I am truly humbled to have been awarded Royal Navy Caterer of the Year.

Petty Officer Cat Taylor