News: Spartan culinary offers classes for holiday meals
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Culinary classes can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to attend. As the holiday season approaches, two culinary chefs assigned to 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division are teaching basic culinary classes for Spartan family members at the Wilderness Inn on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The classes are intended to help young spouses get oriented to cooking a Thanksgiving meal, which can be stressful if they've never done so before.
Sgt. 1st Class Randall Summerford, the PFAR Battalion Food Operation sergeant, assigned to G Battery, 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, designed the program.
“This is for the [Family Readiness Group],” said Summerford, a native of Ventura, Calif. “The intent of this training is to bring the spouses together and actually teach them a class on how to produce a Thanksgiving Day meal. I would say that we’re trying to hone in on those young spouses that are just getting here to JBER and especially the ones who are newly married and have never prepared one before. Next week we will actually stuff a turkey and bring them up to the prepping process of everything.”
Summerford’s time in Alaska is short and he wants to make a difference.
“My main goal before I leave, and I have about six months left, is to have a culinary art program where we can do things of this nature all the time either for the military, our FRG spouses, or for just general training for anybody that wants to learn,” he said.
Sgt. Raphael Bonair, a Food Service NCO, assigned to F Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion, is also one of the culinary instructors involved with this program.
Bonair, who hails from Plantation, Fla., joined the military for cooking training.
“I found out about culinary arts in the Army,” Bonair said. “I stuck with it and kept on learning from other military personnel. Some of them worked in the industry before joining the military. That kept my interest in cooking.”
Bonair’s passion for cooking is contagious.
“I hope to give the spouses a different perspective for cooking itself,” he said. “Having a love for it and what you do. You have those days where you can inspire yourself to do something different and not what you see or hear on TV or see in magazines, but doing your own thing because that’s what it comes down to; coming up with your own creations.”
When asked any advice for first time cooks, Bonair replied, “Keep on cooking. You might burn something one time, but that’s how I learned. Just keep on progressing.”
One of the new students, Tami Beasley, from Butte, Montana, whose husband is assigned to G Battery, 2-377 PFAR, said she felt more confident from the classes.
“I learned a lot about knives and the different types of knives you [use] in the kitchen and safety,” she said.
Beasley plans on coming back to the next class, “Yes, I’ll be here. I want to learn how to stuff a turkey.”
Classes are open to Spartans and their family members.
The next class is Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m. at the Wilderness Inn and will focus on the meat portion of the Thanksgiving meal, such as ham and turkey.
The last class is Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Wilderness Inn and will concentrate on Thanksgiving pastries.
Date Posted:11.07.2013 18:41
Location:JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, US
Hometown:BIRMINGHAM, AL, US
Hometown:BUTTE, MT, US
Hometown:PLANTATION, FL, US
Hometown:TUSCALOOSA, AL, US
Hometown:VENTURA, CA, US