CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Four food service specialists with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group and chefs with Sodexo participated in a quarterly culinary competition here, June 18.
The members of each team competed fiercely to earn the top prize of becoming chef of the second quarter for 2012, and the chance to go against other winners at the last event to be titled chef of the year.
“Twelve teams from different messhalls across Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point and New River competed for a chance to be here today,” explained Charles James Jr., the area manager for Sodexo. “Only four made it to this competition and one out those four will be chef of the quarter.”
James explained, in order to place for the competition the nominees had to endure a series of tests on food service knowledge and sanitation procedures, as well as various workshops.
Each team was comprised of two members, four Marines with CLR-27 who are currently assigned to Messhall 303, and four Sodexo chefs assigned to Messhalls 128 aboard Camp Lejeune, and 455 aboard Camp Johnson.
Sodexo is a French multinational corporation and it’s the Marine Corps’ main food service provider.
“This is a collective organization between the Marine Corps and Sodexo,” James said. “This is put together mainly by the production managers and the senior [Marine] leaders at every food service location.”
Gunnery Sgt. Morris Mayfield III, the operations chief for Food Service Company, CLR-27, explained the most important part of this competition is not just competing, but giving the best effort each member of the team has.
“The major thing here is that each individual competing represents their messhall with the best of their abilities,” Mayfield expressed. “During this opportunity we are just fortunate enough to have two teams from our unit competing here representing the entire [2nd MLG].”
The event’s theme required competitors to serve food for a picnic, however, the participants were restricted from serving ribs, chicken, hotdogs and hamburgers to increase the level of difficulty and to encourage them to think outside the box.
“The restrictions and requirements for the competition are always challenging,” Mayfield expressed. “But this is what we do, we are never going to have the perfect setup, so we need to adapt.”
The judges were responsible for evaluating every aspect of the food served by the competitors. Each team score was based on cooking fundamentals, composition of dish, overall flavor, seasoning, doneness, timing of service and temperature.
“I think this is a good way to show how capable and proficient each one of the participants are,” Mayfield concluded.
All four teams received a letter of appreciation for their efforts as food service specialists, but only the first, second and third place teams will be awarded their respective medal and a chef jacket.
The Sodexo team from Messhall 455 took the first place, but the Marines of CLR-27, despite of placing third and fourth in the competition, vowed to return the next quarter for the trophy.