News: Marine chefs face off during competition
Story by Pfc. Mike Granahan
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Three food service specialists faced off Sept. 26 in the chef of the quarter competition on Cherry Point.
The competition put to the test all attributes necessary to be a successful Marine Corps chef including preparation, presentation, taste, Marine Corps and military occupational specialty knowledge, and overall Marine appearance.
Cpl. Brandon M. Bower took first place in the competition with his shrimp scampi, Wisconsin cheese soup, linguini pasta, asparagus with bacon pieces, wheat bread and ice cream delight.
“It’s all about leading by example,” said Bower, a food service specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “We have new Marines coming in that aren’t familiar with (the competition) and you step up. That makes them want to do it the next time around.”
The inherent competitive spirit derived from the event brings the Marines together, increasing morale throughout the unit, said Staff Sgt. Kristine R. Carrillo, the assistant mess hall liaison with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274.
“This is a big confidence builder for them — bragging rights — Marines love that,” said Gunnery Sgt. Galia N. Cook, the galley captain with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “These Marines put their hearts and souls into this.”
The competition allows Marines to break out from their normal routines, express creativity and showcase their skill sets, said Carrillo.
“It shows that our cooks have a skill that they don’t normally get to use in the galley because there is a set menu,” said Carrillo.
After the competition, the Marines received constructive criticism detailing what they did well and areas in which they can improve, providing a valuable learning experience, said Carrillo.
The winners from each quarterly competition will go on to compete in the Chef of the Year competition Oct. 18, giving them an opportunity to attend Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.