Culinary Specialists Cook Up Heated Competition

By 1st Lt. Brianna Griffin, 498th Combat Sustainment Support BattalionJuly 11, 2021

CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea — Culinary Specialists from two field feeding companies competed against each other in the Inaugural Field Feeding Competition on June 4 for bragging rights as the best Eighth Army Food Service Soldiers on the Korean Peninsula.

Both quartermaster field feeding companies – the 541st, from U.S. Army Materiel Support Command – Korea, and the 581st, from 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, — had a team comprised of four Soldiers competing to evaluate their ability to prepare and plate a unique, tasty, four-course meal. Both teams cooked from the Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT) using Unitized Group Ration – A Option (UGR-A), best described as perishable/frozen entrees. The teams received a common pantry including a mystery basket of mandatory supplements to enhance their meal and pique creativity. Upon gathering their goods and submitting their menus, the teams had three hours total to prepare and present four dishes to the judges’ panel.

The Field Feeding Competition featured a diverse panel of judges including U.S. Army Soldiers, Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) Soldiers, and civilians. Judging the competition included representatives from Eighth Army Equal Opportunity, 403rd Army Field Support Battalion-Korea and Eighth Army Inspector General Office.

Over 30 additional attendees came out to observe, coach, and support the culinary specialists in what will now be an annual competition to increase esprit de corps and showcase the talents of the newly-formed functional companies as they support the warfighter.

“The end product produced by both Field Feeding Teams correlates with the transition from Dining Facility to Warrior Restaurant – from cafeteria-style to fine dining presentation.” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christopher Sanders, Senior Food Advisor for Eighth Army, G4.

“Culinary Warriors showcased their culinary skills in front of key leadership while using primary field feeding equipment,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Darnell Mullen, DSTB/581st QM FFC Operations Food Advisor. “The competitors set the example of food service excellence.”

Some of the competition’s noteworthy dishes included 541st’s buffalo cauliflower wings and a dessert dish that solidified the victory for 581st that featured vanilla bean ice cream, sponge cake with a chocolate mousse topping.

“The Soldiers in Korea are used to competing in the annual Philip A. Connelly ‘Military Garrison’ category. This competition gives the Soldiers another opportunity to show case their skills and compete in the “Active Field Feeding” category,” said Lt. Col. Christina Rivas, commander, 403rd Army Field Support Battalion-Korea. “I have no doubt that the culinary specialist here in Korea will win next year’s Philip A. Connelly competition cooking the way they did today”,

The Field Feeding Company Force Design Update (FDU) consolidated culinary specialists and field feeding equipment into companies and teams that will be assigned on an as-needed basis to Echelon Above Brigade (EAB) units during field training/exercises or forward deploying requiring field support. The Field Feeding Company concept began implementation in Fiscal Year 18 and will continue until Fiscal Year 23. Unlike most other forward deployed locations, Korea does not utilize LOGCAP as a consolidated field feeding solution. The 194th DSSB and 498th CSSB recently transitioned to the FFC FDU in order to fill the gap of an organization solution providing area support for field feeding missions.

Both 581st and 541st QM FFC support over 25,000 Soldiers daily through the operation of several Warrior Restaurants throughout the Korean Peninsula and conduct at least 25 field feeding missions each fiscal year to support various field training exercises.

“We are hoping to make this competition a tradition here in Korea for both field and garrison environments. Both teams did an amazing job and I’m so proud of the 92Gs, said Sergeant 1st Class Tameka Black, Senior Enlisted Food Advisor for 2ID Division Sustainment Brigade.

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