Culinary Specialist of the Year

Photo By Pvt. Carlie Lopez | Sgt. Sheah Johnson, 25th Infantry Division, 3rd IBCT melts butter in a pan, September 4, 2019 on Schofield Barracks. Johnson is one in four soldiers who competed in the Culinary Specialist of the Year competition against other 25th Infantry Division Soldiers.



Story by Pvt. Carlie Lopez 

25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — Four culinary specialists from the 25th Infantry Division on Schofield Barracks compete to be named “Culinary Specialist of the Year” by heating things up with a cook-off on September 4, 2019.
The four Soldiers, two junior enlisted and two noncommissioned officers, all culinary specialists with the military occupational specialty (92G), tested their skills with a timed cook-off along with their knowledge of basic Soldier tasks during a military board and a physical fitness test.
“I think competition is healthy,” said Cleveland native Sgt. 1st Class David Marcelli, lead instructor of the Culinary Training Lab of Hawaii. “I think we all know that as Soldiers, we want to compete for the next rank or compete for the best job. I think in food service it helps Soldiers, that if they are not going to stay in the military that they have a chance outside of the military to be a good chef as well.”
The Soldiers prepared for the Culinary Specialist of the Year competition through months of hard work and competing in smaller competitions leading up to the big event.
Marcelli said he considers all of the Soldiers that competed as winners, because they had to overcome many obstacles to qualify for the competition.
The judges for the cook-off graded the Soldiers in sanitation, presentation, knife skills, and overall taste. While each Soldier excelled, only two could be crowned at the end.
“It’s extremely important, especially for the 92G family”, said Sgt. Sheah Johnson, one of the competitors from 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “We don’t exactly get a whole lot of exposure, because we’re a support MOS. We are like our own little family, so to put ourselves out there division wide, gives us a positive light.”
The two winners earned a four-day weekend, an Army Commendation Medal, and an opportunity to mentor future Soldiers on what it takes to be competitive in next year’s event.
Johnson said that competing in the Culinary Chef of the Quarter a few months back helped her feel better prepared for the competition. She said it made her more confident this time around and ultimately led her to win.
All of the Soldiers who competed plan to further their knowledge in culinary skills, Soldier skills and hope they can continue to learn while teaching others as they go.

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