Tasty Journey Of Reward


“An army marches on its stomach”, a phrase supposedly coined by Napoleon, encapsulates a fundamental truth: the efficacy of a military hinges not only on its prowess but also on good, well-prepared and plentiful food.

An emerging talent in Air Force making mouths water with morale-boosting quality food is chef-in-training Aircraftwoman Cindy Cao.

Having spent eight years working in aged care, Aircraftwoman Cao decided to follow her dreams and become an Air Force chef, which begins at Glen Waverley TAFE in Victoria.

“Working in aged care, you make a notable difference to the lives of others every time you head to work, which I found very rewarding,” Aircraftwoman Cao said.

“I also realised how important life is, and how important it is to go after what you truly want, and, for me, that meant pursuing my long-held passion for cooking.”

It’s been a life-changing journey for Aircraftwoman Cao since she arrived in Australia from her small village in the Philippines 10 years ago.

“I grew up on the largest island in the Philippines archipelago called Luzon, before moving to Australia in 2014 as an international student studying at Penrith TAFE in Sydney,” she said.

“From the moment I signed up it was a game changer for me because I love being in the kitchen – my comfort zone, and I have always loved cooking for my family and friends.

“I love to see the plate of food I have served them being empty afterwards and it’s always been a passion of mine to serve people.”

Aircraftwoman Cao said she was enthusiastic about being able to add her own slice of Filipino flair to the meals she’ll cook once she’s graduated and posted to a RAAF base kitchen.

“One dish that I would really love to develop for a RAAF menu is a very popular meal back home among my family and friends: roast pork cooked in charcoal,” Aircraftwoman Cao said.

“I know how much Australians love their roasts so if I can bring a bit of my culture to the way I cook meals in the future with Air Force – even if that means adding in a few more herbs, spices and garnishes like lemongrass – the better the result.”

Sprinkling her combined cultures through the dishes she prepares is central to Aircraftwoman Cao and her hopes in making a difference to the meals in RAAF kitchens.

“It’s a great responsibility cooking quality food for our Defence Force and I feel incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to do so,” she said.

“Being a chef has always been a dream of mine and now learning to become one in the Royal Australian Air Force is an added thrill.”

For information on a career as a chef in the Air Force, go to Air Force Defence Jobs.

View more of Aircraftwoman Cao’s story on the Air Force YouTube channel.

/Public Release. View in full here.