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Military precision in the kitchen

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Colour Sergeant Wayne Furbert and his team of Bermuda Regiment chefs

There are at least three Wayne Furberts in Bermuda.

You’ve likely heard of Wayne Livingston, the MP.

The second one, Wayne Hastings, is a professional chef who cooks for the Bermuda Regiment for fun.

The third Wayne Furbert’s middle name is Oliver.

They’re all cousins.

“I am the oldest,” said Colour Sergeant Furbert. “Sometimes people get us a little mixed up but not too much. We might sometimes get a bill in the wrong place, but we work it out.”

It’s likely his time in the kitchen has helped set the 59-year-old apart from his relatives.

At the age of ten he was regularly making bacon and eggs for his grandmother, Constance Maude Furbert.

As he got older, he would cook for his three younger brothers and sister.

Surprisingly, his nine-to-five job doesn’t involve food at all. He’s the assistant coordinator of the Bermuda Housing Corporation’s Hustle Truck programme.

In his spare time however, he operates Gunners Cafe, a restaurant and catering business out of the Royal Artillery Association in St George’s. And of course, he cooks for the Bermuda Regiment as part of a team of six. That’s 261 meals, three times a day.

“I just love cooking,” he said. “Everyone in this recruit camp has really enjoyed the food. At least five people have approached us that want to come into the cooking section. They see the way we operate and that we have fun and produce good food.”

Clr Sgt Furbert joined the Regiment as a volunteer in 1974. He was interested in music and wanted to join the band.

“I was lead drummer for many years,” he said.

In 2008, a contingent from the Bermuda Regiment went to the Turks and Caicos to help out after Hurricane Ike. Clr Sgt Furbert was among the volunteers. His idea was that he would help with construction as he’d worked in the field.

“We were here preparing to leave when Sergeant Major Arnold Allen approached me and said he wanted me to work with him cooking. I hadn’t cooked for the Regiment at all up until that point.”

Clr Sgt Furbert accepted the offer. “There were about 56 or 58 of us. I got up at about 4 o’clock in the morning and cooked breakfast, then lunch and dinner for three days. I made up my mind then, to change from the band to the quartermaster section which cooks are a part of.

“When I came back, I had to tell the director of music that I no longer wanted to play in the band, that I wanted to cook stuff because I had so much fun doing it.

“And I was getting old, so it was time to give it all up anyhow — all the marching up and down the streets. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

He opened his restaurant about two years ago.

“I’m a member of RAA and the kitchen was available so I rented it,” he explained. “I do all the club’s functions as well. It’s just a little something, mainly weekends and evenings.

“On Sunday mornings we do our world-famous codfish and potato breakfast — people from around the world come in on boats and sailboats.”

His days are routinely long.

“I get up and go to RAA about 7am. I make 8am in Paget, at Harmony Hall and knock off at about 4pm. Then I go back RAA. I get rest about one night a week — on Mondays. Otherwise I’m always catering or something.”

His son Stefan helps him with Gunners Cafe.

His wife Selena takes over his work when he’s in the Regiment.

Clr Sgt Furbert also has a daughter, Shantia, who works for the Bermuda Police Service and three grandchildren — Zion, Shania and Marley.

He’s one of six cooking in the main kitchen at Warwick Camp.

Another two people work in the Sergeants’ Mess, cooking for about 40 people; there are two cooks in the Officers’ Mess, catering to 11 people and any special visitors they might have.

His team rises early to prepare the 261 plates they serve at each meal.

“Prep helps,” he said. “We’re in the kitchen at 5.30am to start breakfast and then we start prepping for lunch and dinner.

“We’re working all day, until about 7pm or 7.30pm.”

Colour Sergeant Wayne Furbert in the kitchen at Warwick Camp. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
<p>‘This ain’t no hotel’</p>

Ever wonder what’s served during mealtimes at the Bermuda Regiment?

Below is a sample menu:

Breakfast: Pancakes, bacon, breakfast potatoes, baked beans, cereal, yoghurt, fruit

Lunch: Fish and chips, coleslaw

Dinner: Roast beef with mashed potatoes, vegetables with gravy and dessert

For recruits who don’t like beef or fish, Private Serena Zuill makes vegetarian meals.

Joked Colour Sergeant Wayne Furbert: “We are a little flexible but this is the army; this ain’t no hotel.”