Group 1 – Soldier mates
Townsville army mates David and Scott are used to high-pressure situations.
Whether they’re out in the field serving their country or cooking in the kitchen, they’re always calm and rarely rattled. “One of the techniques I’ve learnt through the army is to just stop, think and prioritise what needs to be done first in order to get that end result,” David says.
Scott adds: “I deal with pressure the same way. You definitely stop and think first before moving forward.”
David, 41, and Scott, 39, met as teenagers when they first joined the army. David, now a Captain, was 19 while Warrant Officer Scott was only 17 years of age. “He joined the army a week before me so he has seniority apparently,” Scott laughs. The pair hit it off straightaway. “We formed a great bond,” David says.
Scott adds: “David and I are more than friends. David’s the brother I never had.”
Being friends for more than 20 years will be a major weapon for them in the competition. “We’ve never had an argument,” Scott says. “I can’t recall a cross word ever being said between us in 23 years and that comes across in the kitchen. If someone is struggling, and it’s normally me, Dave will stop what he’s doing and take charge. We’re very organised and we have a crack at anything.”
Desserts and the fact they rarely cook together – their army posts keep them apart for long lengths of time – could be their undoing. “We’ve cooked a steak or two over the barbie but we’ve never been exposed to anything like this where you have to cook under pressure and time constraints,” Scott says.
Between them, they’ve served in Somalia, Rwanda, East Timor, Sinai and Afghanistan. Surviving on ration packs certainly makes them appreciate a home cooked meal. “When you’re out bush or deployed for months on end, you really do crave and miss good food,” Scott says.
They both credit their wives for transforming them into “half-decent” cooks. David’s wife of eight years Cath is a former chef. “When I’d drop by and see her in the restaurant, I got captivated by it and picked up a few tips here and there,” he says. “Over the last year, it’s taken off.”
He and Cath have dreams of opening up a business together one day. “We’d love to run a bed and breakfast which has a cooking school and mobile catering attached to it.”
Newly married Scott has developed a love for cooking, particularly Asian-inspired dishes, thanks to his Thai wife Kae, who works as a caterer among other things. “Because of my love for and her ability in the kitchen, I wanted to relay my feelings for her through a medium that was close to her,” he says. “She works so hard and cooking for her is my way of saying thank you.”
The boys have something to prove and will enter the competition with all guns blazing. “David and I are here to prove two things,” Scott says. “The first one is army blokes can cook and cook really well. And the second one is that Queensland is undoubtedly the best state to be in.”