The 3rd Infantry Division’s Food Service Program held a culminating event luncheon for their “Back 2 Basics” class 03-21, March 19, 2021, at the Division Culinary Arts Training Facility on Fort Stewart, Georgia. Eight culinary specialist Soldiers from the class graduated after preparing a special five-course meal for critique.
“We teach them how to make everything from scratch,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Shurden, culinary arts manager and instructor for the 3rd Infantry Division. “When they come here we start from the basics, like how to hold a knife, how to do proper knife cuts, and how to make the mother sauces.”
The program originated on Fort Stewart for culinary specialists throughout the 3rd Infantry Division footprint. The initiative reinstitutes what culinary specialists learned during advanced individual training in addition to building new culinary skills.
“‘Back 2 Basics’ is a two week course,” said Sgt. Maj. Lemakius Gardner, the chief culinary management sergeant major for the 3rd Infantry Division. “Once the Soldiers go back to their unit, they can put the skills that they learn out into the dining facility and teach and mentor their people.”
Each class ends with a luncheon served by the Soldiers to their chain of command to showcase the skills that they acquired over the two-week course. As the class’ chain of command ate their food, they filled out a paper survey to give feedback.
“I do encourage other [culinary specialists] to take this class,” said Pvt. Tamya Jackson, a culinary specialist assigned to the 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. “There’s a lot that you can learn outside of the [dining facility].”
Gardner said class 03-21 was the first class of the 2021 year due to COVID-19. She said they will select eight to ten culinary specialists for the course every six weeks going forward.
“I want them to go back to their dining facilities and apply the skills that they learned here,” said Shurden. “When they go back they can say, ‘Let’s get together and we’ll start making changes.’”