An inspirational Royal Marine chef will be decorated by the Queen for promoting a healthy lifestyle to a huge following.
Colour Sergeant Mike Beaton from Torquay is made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List – delayed by the pandemic - one of 22 men and women across the Royal Navy and Royal Marines rewarded for commitment and dedication going beyond the normal call of duty.
Mike heads the Royal Marines’ educational awareness team which roams the country spreading the word about the work of the corps and Royal Navy and has had a positive impact on recruiting, in particular in the BAME arena.
Royal Marines EAT has travelled the length of Britain and been invited into parliament – all through the subject of food, using it as a platform to enthuse, inspire, educate young people and to get them to think about their next step in life.
In addition, Mike has built up a legion of social media followers – and has continued to keep them entertained throughout the pandemic with his energetic cooking sessions from his home kitchen and his trademark catchphrase: Boom!
Known online simply as the Commando Chef (@CommandoChef) with signature dishes such as ‘Chicken Curry in a Hurry’ (the secret ingredient is half a Bounty bar…) and ‘Mexican Mince’, Mike’s rapid-fire cookery lessons draw thousands of viewers.
But the news of the MBE has left the senior non-commissioned officer somewhat lost for words for the first time in his 34 years as a Royal Marine.
“Wow. It’s unbelievable. From leaving school with no education to being on Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours List and being awarded the MBE. I can’t really believe it!” he said.
“What a privilege and what a privilege to work with young people as a serving Royal Marine – Boom!”
Mike says the success of his EAT isn’t down to him, but support and advice from people across the Forces, elite sports coaches, tutors, teachers, council leaders, social media following and many more – and especially his wife.
“Then we went into lockdown and the Commando Chef was born getting the word out there through social media from my kitchen in Torquay.
“Now we’re well past three million views. Fast recipes, chat, washing on the line, burning food, stepping on the dog – it has been a roller coaster of a journey on social media all done in one take because life is real.”