MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --
The 341st Force Support Squadron held the second quarter “Warrior Chef” competition June 7 at the Grizzly Bend, recognizing and rewarding some of its culinary experts for superior performance, while enhancing their culinary proficiency.
“The biggest thing that this competition offers is the opportunity for (the chefs) to make something beyond the basic stuff like French fries, hamburgers or eggs,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lance Blocher, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron chief, and one of three judges for the competition.
In addition to Blocher, the judges panel consisted of Chief Master Sgts. Michael Frank, 341st Mission Support Group chief, and Anthony Beckoff, 819th RED HORSE chief enlisted manager.
The competing teams included Team One: I Know Cooking, consisting of Staff Sgt. Kelsi Morrison and Airman Xavier Wajid representing the 341st FSS fitness center; Team Two: Cooks ‘n Crooks, consisting of Staff Sgt. Luis Guzman and Airman 1st Class Haley Ross representing 341st FSS manpower personnel; Team Three: Jalapeno Business, consisting of Staff Sgt. Jeremy Flores and Senior Airman Marrissa Morales also representing the 341st FSS fitness center; Team Four: Xtra Crispy, consisting of Staff Sgt. Amber Sansone and Airman 1st Class Nicki Agunos representing the 341st FSS missile feeding operations section.
For the competition, each of the four teams had staggered start times, where the secret ingredient of mangoes was revealed. From there, each team had one hour to prepare four servings of their meal to present to the judges for scoring. Scores were based on taste, texture, tenderness, creativity, presentation and use of the secret ingredient.
“This gives them a chance to actually utilize what they have learned throughout their careers and from culinary training, so we had a well-rounded showcase of capabilities today,” Blocher said.
Team Four won the competition with their meal of steak with mango sauce, shrimp and vegetables with honey almond sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and mango salad. Since they were the last team to start, the two-man team had to wait while the other teams were already in the kitchen preparing their meals, but this gave them time to decide on their theme - surf and turf.
“We wanted to stick with one theme for the meal and I think that’s what made it work because from the marinade to the salad dressing it had the same flavors,” Agunos said.
While normally the NCO is the chef and the Airman is the sous chef, Sansone gave Agunos the opportunity to be the head chef for this competition.
“I wanted him to be the chef because he needs opportunities to do more as an Airman,” Sansone said. “He’s going to be leading us one day so I said let me be your sous chef, whatever you need I got you.”
For winning the competition, the team was awarded a $50 gift card to a local restaurant along with bragging rights and the Warrior Chef trophy. Agunos and Sansone agreed that Warrior Chef was an awesome experience and, while they were both nervous for their first competition, they had a great time.
“I think it was great experience and everyone should do one of these at least once in their careers,” Sansone said.