DAF members recognized in DoD culinary competition

Members of the Air Force's Joint Culinary Training Exercise team pose with their medals at Fort Gregg-Adams, Va., March 10, 2024. The team, sponsored by Senior Master Sgt. Jacquelyn Gausemel, the senior enlisted aide to the chief of space operations, took home 21 medals in various culinary events. (Courtesy photo)

Eleven Department of the Air Force service members were recognized for their achievements during the 48th Joint Culinary Training Exercise held at Fort Gregg-Adams, Virginia, Feb. 29 – March 8.

The JCTE, the largest military culinary event in North America, is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation.

During JCTE 2024, teams of service members from across the Department of Defense competed against each other, showcasing their skills in food preparation, nutrition and presentation of culinary dishes. The DAF-sponsored team consisted of enlisted aides, flight attendants and other Airmen within the Air Force Services career field. One participant, Senior Master Sgt. Jacquelyn Gausemel, currently serves as the senior enlisted aide for Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman.

“This competition is very challenging because it’s a complete mystery basket; they do not provide any equipment,” Gausemel said. “You have to think of every tool, pan, appliance, etc., that you could possibly use.”

Gausemel described the competition as consisting of various events with staggered start times. Competitors walk in and set up their stations with a 15-minute time limit. Then they are allowed to open the refrigerator, discover a “mystery basket” of ingredients, and start crafting dishes. The members who are judged to have crafted the best dishes for each event are the winners. At the end of the competition, the DAF team took home a total of 21 medals.

The Air Force Services career field is comprised of Airmen who work in food services, hospitality, and fitness management. These Airmen are stationed at nearly every Department of the Air Force installation, including Space Force bases. They also deploy to forward operating locations.

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