MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT,N.C. -- Throughout the year, chefs have battled in the Chef of the Quarter competitions for a chance to participate in the annual Cherry Point Chef of the Year competition.
The four winners of this year’s quarterly competitions came together Oct. 18 to once again put their skills to the test and try to walk away with the honor of being named Cherry Point’s top chef.
Louisiana seafood gumbo and coconut cake were the dishes prepared by Lance Cpl. Zachery C. Schram, the winner of this year’s competition.
Schram stated this is his second time in the competition, and he is thankful for the opportunity to show the skills he has learned over years.
Usually in a competition, the contestants have to adhere to the recipe of the Armed Forces recipe index, but for the Chef of the Year Competition the contestant can put their own twist on the recipes.
The competition allows the Marines to exhibit their knowledge on their Military Occupational Specialty.
“The contestants can actually branch out and use some creativity when they prepare their meals unlike previous competitions,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Raccio, a food service specialist with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2. “They are allowed to use other recipes they find on the internet, or their favorite recipe they saw on a television show.”
After thorough planning and determining the meal they want to prepare, the contestants begin meal preparation on the day of the competition.
“The work that it takes to prepare a meal is much more complicated than it seems,” said Gunnery Sgt. Galia N. Cook, the galley captain of Cherry Point’s Mess Hall. “There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into what they do.”
After the judges indulged in the meals, they gave their thoughts on the food.
Lt. Col. Charles J. Basham, the commanding officer of Headquarters and Headquarters squadron, said the food was well prepared.
“They put in a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours overall,” said Cook. “It was an awesome feeling watching them perform their art and I am very proud of my Marines.”