Culinary triumph for veteran soldier from Sheffield

Chris gets to work in the Chefs for Heroes competition
Chris gets to work in the Chefs for Heroes competition

Veteran soldier Chris Allsop whipped up a treat for his family, after setting himself a tough culinary challenge.

For Chris, of Sheffield, being able to cook a complete roast dinner for his family is a massive step on his road to recovery. 

The ex-Royal Engineer was one of five former servicemen who took part in the biennual game cookery competition, Chefs for Heroes,  which is  a joint initiative between Help for Heroes and Swinton Park Cookery School,  North Yorkshire.

Chris, 55, wanted to take part for very personal reasons.

He said: “Since my wife died in April, my children, Alan, 36, Chloe, 25, and Charlie, 24, worry more about me.

“I knew that showing them I could throw a proper meal together would put their minds at rest a little and hopefully make them proud.2

Chris was just 16 when he enlisted.

He enjoyed 23 years’ service in roles such as field engineer, diesel mechanic, recruit training and bomb disposal in Germany, Bosnia, New Zealand and the Isle of Jersey, and was deployed on active duty to Falklands, Bosnia and the UK.

But over the course of his career, he received damage to his spine and other joints as a result of different incidents, leading to him being medically discharged in 2002.

He was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression which impacted greatly on his family life and resulted in him having to be cared for, for  a while.

Contacting Help for Heroes for support filled the massive void that Chris experienced when he left the Army.

He said: “Staff at Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick have given me guidance and equipped me with tools to aid my recovery.

“The Centre is a safe place where I can be with like-minded people. In short, Help for Heroes has benefited me simply by being there when I need it.”

Chefs for Heroes aims to inspire wounded veterans with a passion for food.  Competitors are paired with a top chef who trains them to cook a game dish, that they replicate on competition day.

Chris added: “I have beaten my reluctance to cook proper meals. I feel more confident in producing something well cooked, tasty and that looks good.

“There’s nothing ike a Sunday Roast to bring family together but it’s something we’ve not had since losing our own ‘master chef’.”

Melanie Dickinson of Help for Heroes said: “We aim to give our nation’s heroes one less battle to fight – to enable them to live secure and healthy lives, with purpose.”

Support Help for Heroes’ work at https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/give-support/donate-now/