21st TSC hosts Chef of the Quarter competition

(Left to right) U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Justin Gonzalez, food service senior enlisted advisor, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, poses with Sgt. Susan Wainaina, cook and culinary specialist, 221st Quartermaster Company, Spc. Breanna Ball, cook and culinary specialist, 55th Quartermaster, and Warrant Officer Rashaun Wright, food advisor, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, after the conclusion of the Chef of the Quarter competition and board at Clocktower Cafe, Kleber Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, on March 21, 2024. After two days of competition, Wainaina and Ball were announced as the winners of the non-commissioned officer and Soldier Chef of the Quarter competitions. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Samuel Signor) (Photo Credit: Spc. Samuel Signor)

By Spc. Samuel SignorMarch 28, 2024

 

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command and 16th Sustainment Brigade held the Chef of the Quarter [2nd quarter] Competition on March 20 and 21, 2024 at the Clock Tower Cafe, on Kleber-Kaserne. The competition was broken down into two days. The first day tested the Soldiers’ abilities to cook and plate a three course meal of their choosing. The second consisted of a board that tested them on their culinary and Soldier knowledge.

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Five Culinary Specialists (92G) showcased their skills as chefs and Soldiers in the Chef of the Quarter competition hosted by the 21st Theater Sustainment Command at the Clock Tower Cafe, Kleber Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany March 20-21, 2024.

The competition required participants to cook three plates: an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert, using mystery ingredients. They served the plates to the judges and the next day, went before a board of five senior noncommissioned officers.

The participants cooked, plated, and served the dishes to the judges within two hours. The judges evaluated the dishes based on taste, presentation, cleanliness, and proper handling procedures. The mystery ingredients included prime rib, scallops, sauerkraut, chocolate and dill.

“My experience with the cooking portion was great,” said Sgt. Susan Wainaina, cook and culinary specialist, 221st Quartermaster Company, winner of the Noncommissioned Officer Chef of the Quarter competition. “It was a great learning experience for my colleagues and the competition itself.”

Wainaina’s meal included a cucumber salad with white vinegar, ribeye steak with mashed potatoes and malted milk balls for dessert.

“The cooking portion, it was fairly good,” said Spc. Breanna Ball, cook and culinary specialist, 55th Quartermaster Company, and the winner of the Chef of the Quarter Competition. “I took my time and was able to do everything in a timely manner but when it got down to the last second, things got a little hectic.”

Ball’s appetizer was a Mexican seafood soup, her entree was a beef fajita-style steak with mango salsa, and for dessert, she presented churros with chocolate drizzle and strawberry.

After the completion of the cooking portion, participants were sent home and told to prepare for the board that they all would have to go through the following day.

“The purpose of this competition is to highlight the skill sets that our 92G’s have through mentorship and training from their sponsors,” said Sgt. Maj. Justin Gonzalez, food service senior enlisted advisor, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. “They get to come in and share all of the great things that they do daily, so it highlights their culinary skills, and their Soldier skills.”

Once the contestants completed their boards, judges tallied the scores and announced the winners.

“I wasn’t expecting to win this competition,” said Wainaina. “I thought my competitor was better than me, and it caught me by surprise, but I appreciate that I won, and now this will help me step out of my comfort zone and succeed.”

“I feel really good being the Soldier Chef of the Quarter,” said Ball. “I’m pretty proud of myself for taking this challenge and accomplishing what was presented to me.”

Wainaina and Ball will move on to the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Chef of the Year competition.

“I hope that the winners will go back to their formations and share the experiences that they had at this event,” said Warrant Officer Rashaun Wright, food advisor, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, coordinator of the competition. “That way, they can help motivate the younger Soldiers to want to participate in these events and help inspire them to be next.”

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