A TIDWORTH soldier is 'over the moon' after being crowned overall winner at an inaugural festive baking competition.

Sixty chefs from across the British Army’s Force Troops Command competed in a Christmas cake competition.

Soldiers from The Royal Logistic Corp (RLC) showcased their festive cakes at the event, which was held at Tidworth Garrison on Wednesday, 29 November.

The competition allowed the chefs to develop new technical skills that they have little time for during their hectic daily routine of feeding thousands of soldiers and officers.

Soldiers showed off their entries through three categories: the ‘decorated Christmas cake’, ‘glazed fruit and nut loaf cake’ and ‘ginger bread festive centrepiece’.

A panel of military and civilian judges, headed by professional Pastry Chef and BBC Bake Off: Crème de la Crème judge Claire Clark MBE, were 'amazed' at the professionalism on display.

Judges mulled over neatness, precision, creativity, originality as well as difficulty of design and technique.

Claire Clark said: “I’m blown away I didn’t really know what to expect, I have judged competitions where the army have been competitors, so I knew the standards would be high but I didn’t think they would be this high.

"When you see some of the cakes from the juniors, they are outstanding, I have staff that couldn’t do that well and they are trained pastry chefs, so for me that is impressive."

The winners were Lance Corporal Glen Smith 34 Field Hospital for his decorated cake, Cpl Chris Glover 30 Signals Regiment for his loaf cake and Sgt Ram Limbu 30 Signals Regiment for the gingerbread centrepiece.

The overall highest scoring entry was awarded to Santa’s Workshop produced by Sgt Matthew Hunter, who has recently returned from a deployment to the South Sudan.

Sgt Hunter, 19 Regiment Royal Artillery, said: “I’m very pleased to have won, I’m over the moon, it just shows how all the hard work has paid off.

"The last two days have been full on assembling the house, and also extremely challenging as I’ve never tempered chocolate before.

"A few weeks ago I was cooking in temperatures in excess of 60 degrees Celsius and this week I have spent hours working on chocolate in a room chilled at 9 degrees.”