FORT WORTH, TX, UNITED STATES
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class jose jaen
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Bradley Simpkins, represented Naval Air Station (NAS) Joint Reserve Base (JRB) Fort Worth, during the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Food Services Ashore Culinary Competition, held July 10 – 14 at Naval Station Great Lakes.
The annual event brought culinary specialists from various installations across the region together, splitting them into seven teams comprised of three culinary specialists each. The teams had two hours to cook and plate dishes, followed by a 10-minute window to present the plates to judges, said Simpkins.
Competition day started at 8:30 a.m., and based on the number selected out of a hat on the first day, Simpkins said that determined the order the teams would cook and present their plates to the judges. A member of Team 2, Simpkins said his team had had two hours to complete six appetizers and six entrée plates, two plates for the judges, two for pictures and two for the competition’s distinguished guests.
“We had a market basket with items that we had to incorporate in our dishes— three whole chickens, salmon filet, Yukon potatoes, peaches, spinach, bacon and freekah. We had to fully fabricate our chickens, meaning fully break them down into breast, wings, and legs, thighs,” said Simpkins. “Time goes by very fast, faster than you think!”
Despite his team not placing first in the competition, Simpkins described the event as a good experience and one he would not forget. He offered advice to future participants.
“Practice makes perfect. Practice your knife skills and try to become as efficient as possible. There is more cutting than cooking and everything is (made) from scratch. I enjoyed this experience and recommend every cook participate at some point in their career. It’s very humbling and you gain real appreciation for the craft,” said Simpkins.
Simpkins supervisor at NAS JRB Fort Worth’s Moreland Hall Dining Facility, Chief Culinary Specialist Assou Koutouati said Simpkins was chosen to represent NAS JRB Fort Worth due to his 12-year cooking experience and “outstanding feedback from the patrons regarding is (food) products.
“Simpkins is a leader amongst his peers with the sense of dedication and pride for mission accomplishment,” said Koutouati.
It is an honor to have Simpkins represent NAS JRB Fort Worth, Koutouati continued, “He is one of the best culinary specialists in the region thanks to his work ethic to provide wholesome meals to the patrons.”
Simpkins is a super performer, said Koutouati. “He is reliable and a hard worker with unparalleled personal initiative and technical expertise in all his action.”
For more Navy coverage on the competition, visit https://www.dvidshub.net/news/425116/annual-cnic-culinary-competition-wraps-up-cnrma-wins-1st-place .