News: Cooks add zest to skills during culinary accreditation course
Story by Spc. Nathan Thome
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers grabbed fresh ingredients and prepared their cooking areas, to put their skills to the test and create an edible delight, during a culinary accreditation class at the Fort Carson Culinary Academy, Oct. 6.
Eighteen soldiers from dining facilities across Fort Carson enrolled in the 45-day cooking course to enhance their culinary skills. Soldiers were assigned to groups of three, where they studied and cooked together throughout the course.
“Fort Carson developed a partnership with Pikes Peak Community College, which helped the culinary accreditation program get approved,” said Thomas Schaefer, chef, American Culinary Federation, Pikes Peak Chapter, and an instructor in the course. “I had a proposal that I guess meshed with the commanding general’s plan, because he was eager to make this program happen.”
Soldiers attended three classes a week, Garde Manger, the preparation of foods such as salads, hors d’oeuvres, pates and terrines, wine and spirits, and a “lab” to perform hands-on training.
“By taking this course, the soldiers will gain the experience to create their own products, make dishes from scratch, and mentor the Soldiers they work with so they too can learn different ways to cook,” said Schaefer.
In addition to improving their cooking skills, soldiers also gained college credits toward an Associates degree in Applied Science-Culinary Arts.
“The main reason I took this course is because I wanted to lead by example,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Carpenter, senior food operations sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. “I wanted to encourage my Soldiers to go ahead and further their career.”
Soldiers found recipes from their study book, "Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen," and chose a dish to cook and present during their lab.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, which is why I’ve learned so much,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Geier, food service advisor, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Inf. Div.
Most of the food soldiers cook in the dining facility are Army recipes, said Geier. With this training, soldiers can learn how to make their own recipes, and healthier food from scratch.
When they complete their course in January, soldiers will receive certificates of completion, as well as the opportunity to intern at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
The 18 Soldiers have already started to teach their soldiers when they aren’t in class, and will continue to take in what the culinary accreditation course has to offer, until their last day of class.