News: Kitchen heats up with food service competition
Story by Sgt. Brandon Saunders
CAMP KINSER, Japan - Eight food service specialists recently became the first Marines to represent their units in Marine Corps Bases Japan’s newly-revised Food Service Specialist of the Quarter board process.
The competition has been in place for 15 years, but now includes a cook off competition.
Traditionally, the competition entailed a uniform inspection, hygiene inspection, written test and a question and answer session, or board. The addition of the cook off has made the competition unique, setting precedence for MCBJ, according to Gunnery Sgt. John T. Wollie, mess hall manager with Food Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“This competition is important because it allows Marines to enhance their culinary skills,” said Wollie.
The competition included all 10 mess halls throughout MCBJ, including Camp Fuji and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in mainland Japan.
Each nominee was individually screened by their respective leadership and recommended for the consolidated board, prior to being evaluated here.
Master Sgt. Alfred R. Gonzales, food service operations chief of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, said the purpose of this cook off is to assist and maintain the level of motivation and enthusiasm among the cooks.
Marine food service specialists have the opportunity to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York, he added. Cooks in the competition are prime candidates who may qualify to attend this prestigious school, said Gonzalez.
Pfc. Adreine A. Escobar, a food service specialist also assigned to Food Service Co., won 1st place in the competition. For her efforts, she received a plaque as well as a Certificate of Commendation from Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler and deputy commander of MCBJ.
“I didn’t think that I was going to make it,” said Escobar. “I was just trying to prove myself.”
The runner up of the competition was Cpl. Renald Delva, chief cook of 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. For his efforts, he received a plaque in additoin to a letter of appreciation signed by Talleri.