MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Three Marine chefs chopped, sautéed and baked their way toward the title of Chef of the Quarter at the Cherry Point mess hall Jan. 10.
With stuffed chicken breast, potatoes au gratin and a frozen berry and fruit coulis, Lance Cpl. Zachery Schram, a food service specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, proved himself to be the top chef at the competition.
However, that’s not to say that it was not a hard-fought battle. His competition brought their A-games with their respective meals.
Cpl. Brandon Bower, a food service specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, brought a back-home feel to the competition with beer-marinated steak, broccoli and twice-baked potatoes. Lance Cpl. Ashlee Wright, a food service specialist with MWSS-274, had a fall theme with mushroom-stuffed pork, butternut squash soup and chocolate caramel truffles.
Schram said that while he was happy that he won, it wasn’t about the competition for him.
“I just wanted to make something that I could be proud of,” Schram said. “I wanted to make something that would remind me of home.”
The winners of the four Chef of the Quarter competitions go on to compete to be Chef of the Year, which offers the winner a chance to go to the Culinary Institute of America, said Master Sgt. Daniel O’Connell, the food service liaison with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
According to O’Connell, the competition is about more than being able to follow a recipe.
“The Chef of the Quarter is not just cooking talent, it also tests field mess knowledge and operations through written and practical exams,” O’Connell said. “It encourages Marines to get more of an understanding of food science. The competition also gives them a chance to showcase their talents.”