Culinary specialists get fired up for regional competition

Photo By Sgt. Timothy Brokhoff | A U.S. Army culinary specialist with the 1st Infantry Division plates a dish to be judged during a competition at Fort Riley, Kansas, on January 10. The plate shown is sautéed chicken with mushrooms. (Photo by Sgt. Timothy Brokhoff)



Story by Sgt. Timothy Brokhoff 

19th Public Affairs Detachment 

U.S. Army culinary specialists from across the “Big Red One” competed for a spot on the 1st Infantry Division culinary team Jan. 10.
Those selected will have the opportunity to compete in the 45th Culinary Arts Competition scheduled to take place March 4 to 13 at Fort Lee, Virginia.
“The whole team will be made up of five professional-level — more than two years of foodservice — and five student-level culinary specialists — less than two years of foodservice,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Earle, the team leader for the competition. “They’re not making it easy to decide the team members.”
They will be competing against teams from every military installation, to include teams from the Marine Corps as well as the Coast Guard.
“In the kitchen, they’re judged by their knife cuts, their sanitation and if they’re wasting food or not,” Earle said. “Once it goes to the table, they’re judged on their plating skills, how the food tastes, portion sizes and components.”
The culinary specialists each prepared a chicken dish known as Poulet Sauté Aux Cépes, which translates to sautéed chicken with mushrooms. All competitors were working from the Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire, and Earle used an evaluation form to judge each competitor’s dish.
“If they win their event at Fort Lee, that counts as the Regional American Culinary Federation Competition, which is usually judged by civilians,” Earle said. “Then they would go on to the national level representing the military as a whole.”
The national competition is known as the American Culinary Federation competition, which would consist of six team members.
“This has been in the works since Earle arrived,” said Sgt. Maj. Aletha Holiday, the senior culinary specialist on Fort Riley. “He got here about a month before I arrived, and I got here in August. All of my faith is in this, is in Earle, so I will support him with anything he needs.”
Winners of the competition will be announced soon and those chosen will begin preparations and training for the 45th Culinary Arts Competition to follow.

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