Culinary team recreates winning recipes at awards ceremony, demonstration

By Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
April 30, 2010

Members of Team Europe, the U.S. Army Europe and Installation Management Command-Europe 2010 Culinary Arts Team, rush to prepare and serve the entree at a culinary demonstration and awards ceremony at the Patton Barracks Warrior Zone here, April 29. The team, made up of Soldier and civilian Army chefs from across the Army in Europe, cooked and served the "Gold Medal Field Meal" they prepared at the 35th U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va. in late February and early March. The team earned 36 medals at the competition, including the top prize -- first place in the Installation of the Year category. The last time a Europe-based team earned that award was 1992. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols)
Members of Team Europe, the U.S. Army Europe and Installation Management Command-Europe 2010 Culinary Arts Team, rush to prepare and serve the entree at a culinary demonstration and awards ceremony at the Patton Barracks Warrior Zone here, April 29. The team, made up of Soldier and civilian Army chefs from across the Army in Europe, cooked and served the "Gold Medal Field Meal" they prepared at the 35th U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va. in late February and early March. The team earned 36 medals at the competition, including the top prize -- first place in the Installation of the Year category. The last time a Europe-based team earned that award was 1992. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols)

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Members of “Team Europe,” the U.S. Army Europe and Installation Management Command-Europe 2010 Culinary Arts Team, were formally recognized for their achievements during a culinary demonstration and awards ceremony at the Warrior Zone on Patton Barracks here, April 29.

At the event the team, made up of Soldier and civilian chefs from across the Army in Europe, cooked and served the award-winning "Gold Medal Field Meal" they prepared at the 35th U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va. in late February and early March.

“They’ve already done this menu numerous times in training and they won a gold medal at the all-services competition,” said Sgt. Maj. Mark Warren, USAREUR senior food service NCO. “Today’s demonstration is not only for these Soldiers, but for the senior participants. When they come in they’ll be able to experience first-hand -- see, smell, taste -- the quality and the level of food service execution it took for the Soldiers to get to this point,” Warren said.

While the world “field” is part of the name of the winning meal, this is not food in olive drab envelopes, and nothing here is freeze-dried. The gold medal meal includes mouth-watering treats such as herb pork tenderloin crepinette, carrot and ginger puree with pearl onions and peas, seared salmon, and streusel baked apple with mascarpone cream filling.

The meal plan for the demonstration at the Warrior Zone was built for a group of 60 guests, including USAREUR commander Gen. Carter Ham.

“The reason we support the culinary arts team is because, like so many of our other programs, it encourages Soldiers and civilians in U.S .Army Europe and Installation Management Command-Europe to strive for excellence,” said Ham during his address at the event.

For the chefs, challenging themselves with competing, preparing, cooking, and serving intricate meals is hard work, but they say it is a labor of love.

“I love it. I honestly do,” said team member Sgt. Jesse Parker. “You really have to have a passion for cooking if you want to do something like this.”

The team worked together in all aspects of preparing the meal, from setting up a containerized field kitchen to preparing ingredients, cooking the food, keeping the kitchen clean, washing dishes, and serving the meal when it was finished. Everyone seemed satisfied with the final product.

“It’s a great privilege for all of us to be here today,” Ham said. “And there are a lot of clean plates around the patio, which is a testament to the absolute excellence that was provided by these extraordinary servicemembers and civilians.”

Ham presented each member of the team with the Army Commendation Medal for their excellence in the culinary arts, and for representing USAREUR at the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition last month. Team Europe walked away from that competition with 22 gold, nine silver, and five bronze awards, including the competition's top team prize -- the Installation of the Year Award. Team officials said that award has not been won by a Europe-based team since 1992.

The team members are:
Sgt. Maj. Mark Warren
Daniel Trawick
Peter Wetter
Staff Sgt. Stevie Bronson
Staff Sgt. Joseph Dinuzzo
Staff Sgt. Levy Robinson
Sgt. Kevin Auvil
Sgt. Jesse Parker
Sgt. Ken Turman
Spc. Matthew Hendriks
Spc. Holly Moss
Spc. Calvin Parker
Spc. William Pelkey
Pfc. Antoinette Davison