FORT SILL, Okla. (Aug. 16, 2023) – The sizzle of pans, the aroma of spices, and the hustle of chefs filled the Guns and Rockets Dining Facility as the 75th Field Artillery Brigade hosted an exhilarating culinary competition.
The competition, judged and hosted by world-renowned chef and TV personality, Robert Irvine, saw three of Fort Sill’s finest culinary specialists battle it out in the kitchen.
The challenge? To craft a delectable dish using mystery ingredients within a tight timeframe. The ingredients, chosen by Dining Facility Manager Staff Sgt. Chakale Joseph, included bison, quinoa, figs, pre-cooked rice, fresh vegetables, and a plethora of spices. Joseph explained her choice of bison, noting its significance in Oklahoma and its lean nature, which requires a deft touch to ensure it remains tender.
The competitors, Sgt. Mateo Valentine from New Jersey, Sgt. Romanei Williams from Jamaica, and Sgt. Panthamad Khempronna from Thailand were initially given an hour. However, in a dramatic twist, Irvine, known for his appearances on shows like “Dinner: Impossible” and “Iron Chef,” slashed their time to just 45 minutes. “3, 2, 1, rules just changed,” he announced, adding to the palpable tension in the room.
As the clock ticked, the kitchen buzzed with activity. Cameras rolled, capturing every moment for a live stream, while Joseph and Keith Pannell from the Public Affairs Office provided commentary. Irvine, ever the charismatic host, engaged with the chefs, offering insights and occasionally pointing out areas of improvement, especially regarding the bison preparation.
“I’m not here to be nice. I’m not supposed to be nice. I’m supposed to be critical,” said Irvine. Why am I supposed to be critical? Because as you criticize somebody in a very influential way, they work harder, they get better and they start to think more.
When the time was up, the dishes were presented to the judges, which included Irvine, Sgt. Major Ryan Brazill, and Col. Stephen Walker, 75th Field Artillery Brigade commander. After a thorough tasting session, Sgt. Williams emerged victorious with his dish of bison risotto paired with salted asparagus. The win was especially sweet for Williams, who had recently come in second in the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Month competition. “I went for it and I’m glad I did,” he remarked, still in disbelief over his win.
Williams, who has dreams of starting a food truck after his service, expressed gratitude for the learning experience. He shared that Irvine’s feedback on adding depth and height to his plate presentation was invaluable.
Col. Stephen Walker lauded the efforts of all the participants, emphasizing the importance of their daily roles in feeding the soldiers. “This is a unique experience for them to learn more and be able to demonstrate their skills to become better cooks in the Army,” he said.
Irvine, who began his culinary journey in the UK’s Royal Navy, expressed his deep connection to service members and advocating for more creativity in military menus, he said, “I call food ‘hope,’ it builds morale.”
The competition not only showcased the culinary talents within the military but also highlighted the importance of continuous learning and growth. As Chef Irvine aptly put it, “The world is your oyster. So, if you’re thinking about what you don’t know, join the military. They’ll teach you really fast and they’ll teach you a lot of leadership.”
|Date Posted:||08.17.2023 14:16|
|Location:||FORT SILL, OK, US|
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