NOTHING can stop Chester's military super-chef Joe Backstrom when he is on culinary mission - not even royalty.
The 44-year-old part-time soldier was cooking for the honour of the Territorial Army (TA) when Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal dropped in.
He was immediately granted permission to carry on when she realised he was reaching the climax of a crucial contest at Sandown Park, Surrey.
And while he continued wielding his pans he swapped pointers on food preparation with his VIP visitor.
Sgt Backstrom, from Blacon, said: 'Princess Anne was fantastic. She instantly realised our four-strong team was on the point of serving up a sumptuous three-course meal for 36 people.
'She could also see we were having to create our culinary masterpiece in the sort of field kitchen currently in use in the Gulf.
'Having Her Royal Highness there added a magic ingredient to our cooking. We were delighted with the silver medal we won.'
Sgt Backstrom said that his guest's visit during the British Armed Services' annual culinary contest had helped highlight the importance of the TA's Catering Support Regiment.
He said the unit provided world-class training for young men and women throughout the UK. It currently had members on duty everywhere from the South Atlantic to the Middle East.
He added that Royal Logistics Corps TA-trained chefs also served with all the TA units based in towns and cities across the country.
The Catering Support Regiment's competition squad is drawn from a pool of around 50 of Britain's finest chefs. All joined up to enjoy the excitement of part-time soldiering and to extend their professional knowledge.
As part of their role they work alongside and help guide new recruits. The culinary education they provide is often the key that opens the door to top-flight civilian catering careers for young men and women enlisting in the TA.
Anyone wanting information about joining the Catering Support Regiment can ring 0800 587 6585.