WA, UNITED STATES
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A food service specialist from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade topped her peers from different brigades in the 7th Infantry Division Fiscal Year 2014 Food Service Soldier of the Year Competition.
This competition was the first time Spc. Beverly Delk from 46th Aviation Support Battalion pitted her culinary and basic soldier knowledge against others.
“I’ve wanted to prove myself for a long time to my chain of command. I’m a very hard worker and dedicated worker, but before this all, I had was my work ethic and I wanted my name to mean something,” Delk said.
Participants had a chance to earn as many points as possible in two different judged portions.
“The first part of the competition was a cook-off, which was very similar to the ‘Iron Chef’ show, where they were given a basket filled with items,” said Master Sgt. Edward L. Jackson, competition judge and 16th CAB senior enlisted food adviser. “Spc. Delk pretty much made her ideal menu with what was given to her.”
After the cooking portion of the day, the soldiers changed from their cooking attire into their dress uniforms to test their knowledge in front of a panel of judges from 7ID and its various brigades.
“The second part was a question and answer board … and that’s where participants gather most of their points from. The board covered basic military topics such as leadership, map reading and customs and courtesies as well as a plethora of food service questions,” Jackson said.
Delk, who had been in the Army less than three years, was chosen to represent 16th CAB because of her consistent initiative on the job and desire to better herself.
“When we [16th CAB] were competing in the Phillip A. Connelly competition, 46th ASB and other battalions were out at the field site so she was pretty much left at the DFAC [dining facility] to do a lot of things on her own. She stepped into an NCO role and I saw the leadership she had in her,” Jackson said.
“She has that type of presence and motivation when you’re around her to know that she is going to be a leader and do great things,” said Sgt. 1st Class Denny D. Joseph, 16th CAB DFAC manager.
Delk’s path to the Bayonet title started with the support of her noncommissioned officers.
“Sgt. [Heidiann] Wallace helped me a lot by squaring away my uniform, prepping my meals and preparing for the board portion of the competition,” Delk said. “Master Sgt. Jackson tried to help me relax because I was nervous even though I knew the material.”
Wallace, a food service noncommissioned officer from the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, not only helped prep Delk for the competition, but acted as her sous chef while preparing her meal.
“We actually talked about our roles … I told her I’m here to work with you and not as your supervisor,” Wallace said.
Soldiers, in the rank of Specialist and below, were notified about the course’s main ingredient of chicken prior to the competition so they could prepare for the hour and a half cooking timeline.
“She came to me with a recipe and said she wanted to try it, so we tried it out in the DFAC one night with Sgt. Wallace and it ended up working out,” Jackson said.
Delk’s meal that scored the highest of the day was parmesan garlic crusted chicken with loaded mashed potatoes and asparagus wrapped in bacon.
“When I cook, I want to make it feel like home,” Delk said. “When you feed the soldiers, you never know if that’s someone’s only meal or if they had no other choice so I want to make sure they feel that comfort.
The appetite for success shown by the young Raptor soldier landed her name in first place with no surprise from those within her brigade.
“She’s determined. She listens. She understands,” Wallace said. “She’s a hard worker, so I had no doubt that she would be successful.”
“The day I won my company commander and first sergeant thanked me as well as did the sergeant major,” Delk said. “Now my name means something.”
This work, Raptor cook steams past competition in 7ID cook-off, by SSG Bryan Lewis, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.