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Lance Cpl. Bianca Sanders presents her meal to the judges of the Chef of the Year competition at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Oct. 2, 2014. The Chef of the Year competition is held each year between the winners from the year’s quarterly competitions. The competition highlights their proficiency as Marines and food service specialists. Sanders prepared her meal with the theme of Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Sanders is a food service specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271.

Photo by Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics

Cherry Point chef earns Chef of the Year title

6 Oct 2014 | Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics

 Chefs have baked, fried and seared their way through each of the 2014 Chef of the Quarter competitions at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., for a chance to compete for the title of Chef of the Year.

The annual Cherry Point competition featured the first-place winners from the year’s quarterly competitions, putting the quarterly winners head-to-head to display their culinary skills during the competition at the Cherry Point Mess Hall Oct. 2.

The theme of the competition this year was Disney, inspiring the chefs to create unique dishes in hopes of winning the judges’ vote.

Lance Cpl. Bianca Sanders prepared the winning meal with her “Alice in Wonderland” themed meal that featured a caprese salad; duchess swirled potatoes; salmon cakes with vinaigrette baked into the shape of hearts; bacon, spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms; and a green tea glazed cheesecake for dessert. 

This is Sanders second time taking part in the competition and although she was nervous, she is thankful for the opportunity to show off her skills.

“This has been a great experience,” said Sanders, a native of Fayetteville, N.C. “Getting to see how much my experience has grown and getting the chance to see what my fellow Marines have to offer, and learn from them, is very rewarding for me.”

Unlike the quarterly competitions where chefs are required to follow the recipe from the Armed Forces recipe index, the Chef of the Year competition gave the chefs a chance to add their own flavor and twist on recipes.

“This competition gives food service specialists the opportunity to show their passion and skills while displaying their true talent,” said Master Sgt. Danny O’Connell, the technical representative for food service at the air station.

Each participant is judged based on their ability to prepare the meal within the time constraints, the overall taste of each dish and sanitation practices during preparation and presentation.

“The food service specialists put a lot of time and hard work into their meals for this competition,” said O’Connell. “After tasting the food, I’d say they deserve a job well done.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point