Not everyone is lucky enough to have their dream job become their day job.
Camp Humphreys River Bend Pub executive chef Edward John Miller Jr., known as Chef Ed, joined the Army in 1978 as a food service specialist. Chef Ed followed in his father’s footsteps, who retired as a Command Sergeant Major.
Chef Ed served one enlistment then decided to pursue a career as a civilian. He took the skills he learned in the Army and put them to work for him.
During his time in the Army, he learned many skills that got him into the kitchen he cooks in today, “the best thing they taught me was how to follow a recipe” Chef Ed laughed.
As a civilian, Chef Ed has worked all around the world preparing food for service members and their families. Upon leaving the Army, he began working for the Quaker Square Hilton in Illinois as a banquet chef. He then served military members on Camp Salerno, also known as “Rocket City,” in Afghanistan as the dining facility manager. Following Afghanistan, he made his way to the island of Okinawa where he served as the executive chef of Marine Corps Community Services for nearly ten years. After his time on Okinawa, Chef Ed continued his culinary career at the prestigious West Point Military Academy, feeding cadets and faculty.
“I stay with Morale Welfare and Recreation for two reasons,” Chef Ed said. “It gives me satisfaction to be able to serve our soldiers and families, it also offers benefits(like healthcare and vacation time) other employers outside of the military sector don’t offer.”
Chef Ed’s talents give those here at Camp Humphreys a taste of home wherever that might be for them. The pub features weekly specials including dishes from all around the world.
“I’m here to provide a service for them, and as long as you’re presenting them with a good-quality product and presentation they will walk away saying ‘Wow, MWR really does care for us!’”
In addition to giving back to the military community through his meals, Chef Ed enjoys teaching and mentoring young culinarians.
“It’s really rewarding to see somebody who arrived without much experience, grow into someone who may have a prominent future in this profession.”
Kevin Park, a sous chef at the River Bend Pub, has worked with Chef Ed for the past three years and learned a lot. Park was a sushi chef prior to working under Chef Ed. “Chef Ed taught me how to prepare a wide variety of food from risotto to cake, but my favorite lesson has been preparing and cooking a perfect steak,” Park said.
Chef Ed’s passion and skill really shine through as he stars in AFN Humphreys’ weekly segment ‘Taste of Home,’ where he recreates favorite pub recipes that viewers can try at the restaurant or make at home.