He visited the Academy to give a motivational speech to students in Years 10 and 11 as well as giving a fantastic cooking demonstration.
Mike said: “I feel it’s important that I don’t speak to them like I’m a teacher. I’m there to tell them about what I’ve done in life and let them know that there are lots of options out there for them.
He has served as a Royal Marine for 38 years and said that one of the highlights of his career has been ‘taking young people through their Royal Marine Training’, which is known throughout the world to be the toughest, most extreme basic infantry training there is.
During his time in Commando units, he indulged in endurance sport, which then developed into a hobby and eventually he competed as a GB Athlete across the world.
Mike has now completed World Long Course Triathlon Championships several times, as well as taking on Ironman challenges, all whilst being on tours of duty in the Royal Marines.
He spoke to the students about his experiences and how he joined the forces when he left school, he was keen to encourage them and inspire them to make their own choices, “It’s not about recruiting them as Marine’s, we just want to encourage them to understand that there are more ways to get to where you want to be and at their age, it’s something well worth thinking about.”
Josh Mercer (Y10) said: “I learned about other ways to get the qualifications I need to get into a career that I’d like.”
Alex Macdonald (Y11) added: “I was already interested in the military, but it makes me even more interested now. BOOM!”
Mike’s colleague, Tate Reid also spoke to the students about his career in the Royal Marines and how it differed to Mike’s story. They got all of the students involved with exercises and explained how a good diet and proper sleep can be invaluable to them at this stage of their lives.
Tate also had volunteer students and teachers to try on and help explain the kit that Marine’s wear and what everything is used for.
Mike then created a creamy chicken dish whilst giving them top tips for the kitchen, including the correct way to chop vegetables and handle raw poultry.
The students were then able to sample the food at the end and loved it. Ashley Beech (Y11) said: “The food was banging!”
The Royal Marine chef’s goal is to enthuse, educate and inspire young people through the platform of food. He said: “I like to show them a dish that’s healthy and full of goodness. Encouraging them to get in the kitchen with their friends, families and just enjoy cooking real food is what I love doing.”
Commando Chef was created through lockdown during the pandemic where he uploaded 2–4 minute clips of himself cooking on the internet to try and inspire people to enjoy being in the kitchen with fresh ingredients, but also try and make them smile. It has been a massive success, and he has now reached over 7 million views.
He now travels the length of the country, delivering presentations and workshops to young people in all communities from schools and colleges to scouts and cadets.
Vice Principal Nikki Law said: “The Commando Chef visit was such a breath of fresh air for students to be able to appreciate and understand the importance of careers education.
They were engaging and informative with funny anecdotes; the perfect ingredients to appeal to our students who are now starting to think about their futures.”