News Icon

News: Cooks improvise, create new menu items

Story by Staff Sgt. Richard AndradeSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Cooks improvise, create new menu items Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade

U.S. Army Spc. Andres Durand, left, serves lunch to a Soldier inside the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam in Laghman province, Afghanistan, April 2, 2013. Durand, a food service specialist, was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade/Released)

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers and civilians, alike, had the same shocked expression on their face as each one walked into the dining facility for lunch at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, April 2.

The lunch menu has always been the same, a sandwich bar. On this particular day, food service specialists assigned to the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, decided to try something different.

“We prepare two hot meals a day, usually. Today we made something special for them,” said Staff Sgt. Rene Arana, a food service specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 27th BSB, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.

The former infantryman said he has more freedom as a cook at FOB Mehtar Lam because he gets to create fresh new menu items.

“We create one specialty item, so when [soldiers and civilians] come through our line during lunch and dinner, we provide something different for them,” said Arana. “Be it a special grilled sandwich, a lobster salad, chicken wraps, we even make fresh crab cakes.”

A civilian contractor who enjoyed the hot lunch menu was Mohammed Niazi, a linguist and native of Irvine, Calif. He said the cooks at the dining facility are always respectful and said they do an excellent job.

“We usually have sandwiches for lunch. Today I was surprised, we had tacos, which was much better,” said Niazi.

Arana, a native of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, said he regularly walks through the dining facility, sitting with and asking patrons for their feedback. He asks if there is something they would like to see added to the menu.

To break the monotony of serving the same meals, Arana collaborates with his soldiers in the kitchen to come up with better menu items working with what they have. One example he gave was a turkey cutlet which he described as looking like a hockey puck, served on its own. He asked his soldiers what they could do with it to make it more appealing. One of his soldiers came up with a different way to serve it.

“We sliced it down the middle, put a slice of cheese in it, put it in the oven, make fresh marinara sauce, and there you have it, 'Turkey Parmesan,'” Arana said.

“As a cook, you want to see people in the dining facility enjoy what they are eating,” he said.

Arana and the rest of the food service specialists may come from different units, but they take pride in what they do, together.

“We really appreciate the cooks because they take care of their customers,” said Niazi. “My friends and I are very satisfied with what they do out here.”


Connected Media
ImagesCooks improvise,...
U.S. Army Pvt. Douglas Hughes, center, and Staff Sgt....
ImagesCooks improvise,...
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Rene Arana, left, and Pvt. Douglas...
ImagesCooks improvise,...
U.S. Army Pvt. Douglas Hughes, right, a food service...
ImagesCooks improvise,...
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Rene Arana, left, serves lunch to a...
ImagesCooks improvise,...
U.S. Army Spc. Andres Durand, left, serves lunch to a...


Web Views
652
Downloads
1

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Cooks improvise, create new menu items, by SSG Richard Andrade, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:04.02.2013

Date Posted:04.07.2013 09:05

Location:LAGHMAN PROVINCE, AFGlobe

Hometown:SANTA ISABEL, PR

Hometown:NEW ORLEANS, LA, US

More Like This

  • Before the sun began to rise over the Afghan mountains, music and prayer filled the air as service members and civilians gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, March 31.

The early morning service began with the invocation by U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Steve Prost, brigade chaplain, assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and native of Platte City, Mo., said there couldn’t have been more perfect weather. 

The service featured a pastoral prayer, scripture reading, and a musical performance by U.S. Army Sgt. Amelia Shields, unit supply specialist assigned to Company C, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
  • U.S. Army health care specialists mentored Afghan National Army soldiers on combat life-saving skills at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, March 31.
Soldiers assigned to Company C, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, have a motto, “Cheat death, Save lives.”
The combat medics also known as “Comanches,” communicated with the use of Afghan translators to provide the combat life saver class. The medics shared their knowledge and experience with ANA medics, who travelled to FOB Gamberi from various battalions in Afghanistan, for the training.
  • On Nov. 26, members of Kansas Agribusiness Development Team 4 formed ranks at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Laghman province, to adorn the 1st Cavalry patch on their right sleeve, designating them as veterans who have served in a theater of combat.
  • Though it may not be the most glamorous job, paratroopers of Golf Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment work hard nonetheless at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, logistically supporting their fellow Soldiers.

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr