Corporal Samuel Trew is right at home cooking up barramundi, kangaroo fillets and buffalo sausages at the remote Air Force base of Tindal in the Northern Territory.
He joined the RAAF as a Cook in 2011, following a proud family tradition of military service by his Uncle and late Grandfather. Born and bred in Darwin, Corporal (CPL) Trew has deployed on both domestic and overseas operations, participated in numerous exercises, and had various postings across Australia. He is currently in his sixth year at RAAF Base Tindal, not only is it close to home but he loves the outdoor active lifestyle and being a part of the Katherine town community.
Being a Territorian at heart has proved beneficial in his role of feeding the masses at RAAF Base Tindal and he regularly uses NT flavour in his cooking.
“Cooking in a remote location generally means there is more room for creativity. We create delicious dishes with fresh NT produce like mangoes and wild caught barramundi and game meats like buffalo and even crocodile,” CPL Trew said.
“My most memorable experience so far was working as the solo Cook at Delamere Air Weapons Range for 3 years. The ability to work autonomously was energising. The entire Catering Operations were my responsibility, everything from menu creation, ordering, rostering, team management and VIP dinners for the Chief of Air Force.
“I remember cooking a Thai red crocodile curry for some American dignitaries, four years later one of the American Officers saw me and said it was the most interesting chicken curry he had ever tasted!” CPL Trew said.
The posting at Delamere required CPL Trew to become qualified in ambulance driving, remote first aid, remote firefighting and even snake handling.
“I am an NT qualified snake handler. I’ve been around wildlife since I was young as my mother is a wildlife carer. In my time at Delamere and Tindal I’ve caught and released around 4 King Browns and 30 Black Whip snakes to name a few,” CPL Trew said.
RAAF Base Tindal is currently supporting Exercise Diamond Storm and with extra Units on base, the combined Sergeants and Officers Mess alone is serving around 2,500 meals weekly.
“During Exercises we pride ourselves in showing our visitors the local NT flavour. It’s an opportunity to showcase Territory food and also give our Junior members the chance to learn how to cook these meats.
“I am passionate about sharing my skills and when a new team member nails a dish for the first time I enjoy knowing that I helped influence that,” CPL Trew said.