LETTER:Too many chefs

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The Independent Online
From Rear-Admiral J. P. W. Middleton

Sir: The Navy's intention to replace the branch name of cook by that of chef (Diary, 21 March) could be a recipe for confusion. While regretting the abandonment of a good English title for one of European provenance, one suspects that, to quote another, famous MoD encyclical, "the contents of the can will remain unchanged".

The Chiefs of Staff, the Chiefs of Defence Procurement, Naval Personnel and Fleet Support (to name but a few), the "Chief" of any HM Ship (the Marine Engineer Officer) and the multitude of Chiefs (Chief Petty Officer) will not welcome the change.

Nor, I suspect, would the new submarine Captain, proud of his culinary skills, meeting his sailors for the first time. "And who are you?" he asked one young man. "I am the Chef," came the answer. "No, no, my man," replied the Captain. "You are the Cook, I am the Chef."

Ambiguity rules OK, RN?

Yours faithfully,


Chilmark, Wiltshire

21 March