Albanians and Americans cook from the heart at Kucove Air Base



Story by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Bryson 

U.S. Army Europe and Africa    

KUCOVE, Albania– U.S. Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim visited Albanian cooks at a military dining facility May 21,2021, where they work hand in hand with Americans to bring quality food to the American military personnel taking part in DEFENDER-Europe 21 training exercises at Kucove Air Base, in Kucove/Berat, Albania.

The contract for the dining facility, currently managed by American company Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) employs Albanian food service workers from the local community who work side by side with colleagues from the U.S..

Lisa Carter, KBR food service lead, says she has enjoyed her time here working with her Albanian colleagues.

“They are just lovely people, very friendly,” Carter said. “They are very anxious about the job and always want to make sure everything is perfect.”

That dedication to the job was evidenced by the gleaming tables and the sparkling pots and pans that lined the spacious tent which Ambassador Kim praised as she toured the facility and greeted the staff.

Carter said that even though there were language barriers, her crew always understood each other when it came to the food and a shared smile.

Carter also said that even though she has been cooking her entire life, she learned from her new friends.

“They want me to taste everything,” Carter said. ”The food may look different… it may not look the way it did when we were growing up, but Albanians and Americans both know the most important thing is the ingredients.”

“You can’t go wrong with good ingredients,” added Carter.

The most important ingredient on the list, according to Carter, is love.

“If you cook from your heart and put everything you have in it you come out with the perfect dish,” said Carter.

DEFENDER-Europe 21 is a large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO allies and partner militaries. This year, more than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in more than a dozen countries from the Baltics to the strategically important Balkans and Black Sea Region. Follow the latest news and information about DEFENDER-Europe 21, visit

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