MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Three food service specialists with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron competed in the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Chef of the Quarter competition at the station mess hall March 14.
The competition tested the chefs' abilities to prepare, present and serve meals that fuel the Corps.
Pfc. Brandon Ruiz, a food service specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, earned the first place trophy with a dish featuring strawberry glazed salmon, citrus wild rice and roasted green beans. For dessert he presented the judges with gelato alla vaniglia affogato in café with bruscato.
“Everyone that I’ve ever worked with in the chow hall inspired me to cook this meal in some way," said Ruiz. “Since I’ve been here I’ve been taught valuable lessons and I used those in preparing my meal.”
As each Marine finished presenting their food, judges critiqued their performance and evaluated the overall quality of the dishes, according to Staff Sgt. William F. Taylor, the galley captain of the mess hall.
The quality of the meals showed the Marines' abilities in the kitchen, according to Taylor.
“Today each dish was different,” said Taylor. “The Marines were able to cook anything from stuffed chicken to stuffed pork chops; we even saw a different type of glazed salmon. The Marines really stepped outside of their comfort zone during the competition. ”
As the three competitors battled to earn the title Chef of the Quarter, they helped increase unit cohesion and build camaraderie with fellow Marines at the mess hall.
The Marines are encouraged to select an assistant during the competition who can help them prepare ingredients before cooking, said Taylor.
“The assistant is not allowed to help the Marine cook, but they are allowed to provide the Marine with information and help with preparation," said Taylor. "We are all here with one common goal and that’s to create food for the Corps.”
Chef of the Quarter winners compete for Chef of the Year and an opportunity to attend the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.