MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Three food service specialists who support Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s mess hall competed in the Chef of the Quarter competition here May 29.
The competition is designed to test the abilities of food service specialists from units at Cherry Point including Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 274. The chefs are required to prepare, cook and display food for judges.
The purpose of the competition is to allow food service personnel who excel at their job to display their skills, said Master Sgt. Dwain M. Johnson, the field mess chief with MWSS-271.
When the Marines are not actively engaged in the competition, they feed more than 2,000 Marines every day.
During the competition, attendees sampled a variety of foods prepared by the chefs prepared with themes like “Backyard Barbeque" and “Cinco de Mayo,” but the one that won the judges over was “Beach and Ocean Frenzy.”
Dazzling the judges with seashells, shrimp kabobs and a tea made with the extract of an orchid was Lance Cpl. Bianca Sanders. Sanders earned the first place trophy for this quarter's competition.
Sanders prepared rice, spicy shrimp and vegetable medley with pineapples and green and red bell peppers in seashells, stuffed clams and a stuffed sugar cookie for dessert.
A first time competitor, the Fayetteville, N.C. native got her inspiration from times she spent with her family on the beach, experiences she had while deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and her overall love for the beach.
“I wanted (the menu) to be close and true to my heart,” said Sanders. “I also wanted it to be simple enough for me to actually carry out.”
Sanders said she already knew what she wanted to cook and how she wanted to present it when she volunteered to participate in the competition.
As the competition came to a close, Lt. Col. Jeremy L. Gettings, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron commanding officer, presented all the competitors with an award and thanked them for their hard work and dedication to the Corps.
“We have multiple squadrons here that are playing a very important part in our national security," said Gettings. "Those guys working on those jets, being able to come over and get a hot meal means a lot."
Gettings thanked the Marines for their efforts and encouraged them to keep up the good work.
"The food was absolutely great," he praised.
The mess hall hosts four Chef of the Quarter competitions during which the contestants compete for a chance at the title for Chef of the Year. The winner of the Chef of the Year competition is presented with an opportunity to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.