VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, UNITED STATES
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. – Naval Station Norfolk’s Culinary Specialists competed in the “2023 Best of The Mess” competition at the Founders Inn and Spa located in Virginia Beach, Va., Feb 10, 2023.
Participants from NAVSTA Norfolk, Culinary Specialist 1st Class Ebony Fortney, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Crystal Boucher and Culinary Specialist Seaman, Lynn Trostad, under the team name “Culinary Daughters”, attempted to defend their title as “Best of the Mess” from last year’s event.
The event, hosted by the Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund (CPOSF), invited six commands: NAVSTA Norfolk, USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS McFaul (DDG 74), USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and PCU New Jersey (SSN 796) to compete for the title of “Best of the Mess”.
“When the Food Service Officer chosen me to lead the team I knew I had to do it right,” said Fortney. “So I chose team a more senior Sailor, Boucher, who would have the knowhow and a new Sailor, Trostad, who could use the experience of this competition to improve her own work.”
The “Culinary Daughters” prepared a tangy and savory Korean style barbecue beef and mixed vegetables, a sushi roll, a side of Chinese inspired sour soup and an ice cream with polenta crumble web as dessert.
“We went a little all over Asia with our menu,” said Fortney. “We were originally going to do a ramen with everything in it, but we later decided to spread it out so each flavor could be its own. Out of the ingredients, the polenta was hardest to manipulate. We ended up using it in our barbeque sauce and made a cake that had it crumbled into our ice cream.”
The Asian theme continued in the décor of their voting area, taking heavy influence from Japanese culture. The theme also was reflected in their serving staff who wore kimonos while serving both guests and judges.
“The theme came about because I’ve been to Japan,” said Fortney “I really love and appreciate the culture and my shipmate agrees with me.”
The NAVSTA Norfolk Team presented their dish to the judges, followed in 15 minute intervals by their competitors. While the judges made their decision, the CPOSF allowed the rest of the guests to be served, showed a video of the 2022-2023 scholars, held a silent and live auction, and held cash prize games for the attendees.
NAVSTA Norfolk’s team won the “People’s Choice Award” and “Best Decorated”. The rest of the winners were as follows; 2nd runner up went to USS Kearsarge, 1st runner up went to USS McFaul and “Best of the Mess” went to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“This was a good experience,” said Fortney. “We hoped to win, but we had good competition from some wonderful teams, and I hope other teams feel the same about us.”