Armed Forces Champion Serves up a Pasta Master Class

Date Released - 27/09/2022

WHEN Tameside Armed Services Community (TASC) wanted to find out about making pasta, who better to learn from than the master?

Cllr Vincent Ricci, Tameside Council’s armed forces champion, has been cooking since he was a child, using culinary skills picked up from his Italian family. He was happy to share his expertise with the ex-forces group who use the community facilities at the Town House, Ashton, where he hosted a morning masterclass in making ravioli.

Guiding his students through every step of the process, Cllr Ricci showed how to make the dough from an egg and flour mixture, through flattening and stretching it in a press and cutting out the cases, to filling them with meat and crimping the edges.

It was a lesson the veterans clearly enjoyed. There was a lot of good-natured banter and laughter as they encouraged one another, with cheers when things went well.

However, the biggest round of applause was for Cllr Ricci, who was presented with his chef’s whites as a token of thanks. The ravioli was then eaten in the Town House café area accompanied by focaccia prepared by Kenneth Richards.

Cllr Ricci said: “When I came to the Town house as part of my duties as the council’s armed forces champion I mentioned my Italian heritage and how much I love cooking. I caught the bug watching my mum cook for my dad and my speciality is ravioli.

“When I was asked if I’d give a master class I was blown away. It was a real pleasure to show the lads how to make the dish from scratch and to watch as they all had a go. If I’ve been able to help them that’s wonderful.”

Veterans’ Food Company executive chef Noel Goulding, who leads the Town House cookery classes, added: “The subtle way in which Vincent uses the ingredients shows true craftsmanship.

“He’s a very passionate and talented cook and we were delighted when he agreed to give the master class. He did a magnificent job and the lads had a brilliant time learning from him.”

There was similar praise from Steven Pilling, chief executive of session sponsors Northern Restaurants, who commented: “If Vincent wants the franchise to run the pasta section at our produce hall, it’s his.”

TASC is a not-for-profit group focused on implementing the Armed Forces Covenant through community engagement. As well as cookery lessons, the group organises trips and other activities for people of all ages who have served in the military.

The Armed Forces Covenant, to which Tameside Council is a signatory, recognises that the whole country has a moral obligation to members of the armed forces and their families and it establishes how they should expect to be treated.