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    693rd Quartermaster Company competes in Connelly competition

    693rd Quartermaster Company competes in Connelly competition

    Photo By Todd Pruden | Sgt. Marshall Sheppard, food service noncommissioned officer, 693rd Quartermaster...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Todd Pruden 

    301st Public Affairs Detachment

    EL MONTE, Calif. – One of the most probable anticipated moments soldiers look forward to while out in the field is chow time. Soldiers get the opportunity to forget about the elements, refuel and recharge.

    Army food service specialists get the opportunity to energize and invigorate these soldiers in sometimes harsh environments every day. Cooking for a high volume of hungry troops is no simple task, and quality is of utmost important to those in this field.

    Cooks from the 693rd Quartermaster Company, an Army Reserve unit out of Bell, Calif., competed in the first round of the Philip A. Connelly Awards Program July 15 to prove they have what it takes to keep soldiers smiling in a field environment.

    “You look forward to that subsistence, that fueling, that will keep that soldier going,” said Capt. Lidia Gatchalian, commander, 693rd Quartermaster Company. “Why not make it presentable? Why not make it tasty?”

    That sums up what the competition is all about. Soldiers worldwide compete in this annual competition to prove they have what it takes to prepare nutritious and appetizing meals for their fellow Warfighters.

    The Philip A. Connelly Awards Program is the Army’s top cooking competition. Participants compete with other units Army-wide and are evaluated in areas that include food preparation, taste, nutrition, service, and sanitation.

    Named in honor of a past president of the International Food Executives Association, the Philip A. Connelly Awards Program was begun in 1968 and allows active Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard mess sections from across the globe to compete in order to recognize the best in Army cooking operations.

    “When I took command, I said, ‘I am going to challenge you,’” Gatchalian said. “I decided to take the unit and showcase the [cooks] and put them into a cooking competition. I’ve employed my cooks, I’ve got a sanitation team together, and used a lot of my soldiers just to put together a field site with cooking capabilities.”

    The soldiers cooked up a menu that included Yankee pot roast, onion soup, sliced carrots, boiled potatoes, and a fresh salad, all while simulating a tactical field environment.

    “It definitely shows that they’ve got the capabilities to go into a field environment,” Gatchalian said. “They’ve got the capability to run it, operate to secure, and continue the operation until the mission is complete.”

    The competition was an opportunity to hone the soldiers’ culinary skills, and the 693rd’s cooking team was well prepared and showed they put their best effort into preparing palatable menu.

    “I put my little special twists to some things,” said Spc. Victoria Ambrezewicz, food service specialist, 693rd Quartermaster Company. “We add love and care to the food to make sure it tastes really good.”

    But it’s not only good cooking that drives these soldiers to do what they do. It’s the satisfaction they get from their fellow troops.

    “When you can boost someone else’s morale or just put a smile on their face just from making something like a lemon frosting cake, it makes me happy to make other people happy,” said Sgt. Donte Bryant, food service noncommissioned officer in charge, 693rd Quartermaster Company. “For me to provide that to my fellow soldiers, it’s overwhelming.”

    When the judging was complete, these food service specialists were thrilled with the outcome of their craftsmanship. The next step for the unit is to compete at the Department of the Army level of the competition, as the first round they competed in here was the U.S. Army Reserve Command level.

    “To see them in operation makes me proud and I am honored to be their commander,” said Gatchalian. “In the end, it showed they worked together.”



    Date Taken: 07.15.2013
    Date Posted: 08.09.2013 17:14
    Story ID: 111691
    Location: EL MONTE, CA, US 
    Hometown: BELL, CA, US

    Web Views: 798
    Downloads: 1