By Scott Prater
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fort Carson Gold Star Family members experienced life as culinary artists June 9, 2022.
They sautéed vegetables, prepared cream sauces, boiled pasta and seared chicken breasts to the exact tenderness required — all under the direction of Mountain Post culinary specialists.
Hosted by Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) and the Fort Carson Culinary Academy, the event provided Family members with an opportunity to cook in a professional kitchen (culinary academy) and learn from some of the best culinary specialists on the post.
“We wanted to teach them something useful — how to create a great meal for their Families and friends that is both simple and quick,” said Staff Sgt. Gregory Becker, advanced culinary NCO, Field Support Company Echo, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “We decided on a chicken alfredo dish with a twist. We added Dijon and basil to give the flavor some umph, but really, this is a meal that Family members can prepare in 20 to 30 minutes.”
Family members concocted a sauce with heavy cream, spinach, sauteed cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic and a splash of white wine, then paired it with the pasta and chicken breast.
All the culinary specialists who provided instruction and encouragement had volunteered for the event. Besides the lesson, Gold Star Family members also received a recipe book. And of course, after the lesson they were able to sit and enjoy their creations.
“This is what we envisioned when we partnered up with SOS,” said Becker. “We wanted to offer Family members an enjoyable experience and let them know that we support them.”
The event was hosted in honor of National Gold Star Spouses Day, which actually occurred in April 2022.
“Our Family members told us that they wanted to do something interactive and hands-on,” said Angela Gunn, support coordinator, SOS. “We tried to set this event up for the April time frame, but the venue wasn’t available then, so we moved it to June and even though some of our spouses and Family members are out of town, I think it turned out well.”
Ultimately, 20 Gold Star Family members participated in the event, 10 in a morning session and 10 in the afternoon.
Morning session Family members actually prepared two extra meals during their kitchen stint, as the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson command team of Col. Nate Springer and Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus W. Brister II, joined them for a tasty meal and lively conversation.
“This was a fun event, mostly because we were able to interact with the culinary specialists and see both what they do and what they don’t do (in the kitchen),” said Gold Star Spouse Christina Goetz Bixby. “I know I learned a few things, like how to tell when a piece of chicken is cooked just right. This was a new and different event. Everybody seemed to be having fun.”