FORT HAMILTON, N.Y. (Army News Service, June 13, 2007) - The savory aroma of cedar plank salmon, fire roasted red pepper soup and other gourmet meals tantalized Fort Hamilton guests as Chef Emeril Lagasse presented winners of the "Emeril Live" Military Cookoff April 6 at the Chelsea Market in Manhattan.

The 60-minute show will air 8 p.m. June 29 on the Food Network, and will feature three Army and Navy winners of Emeril's Military Recipe Contest. The contest attracted hundreds of entries from servicemembers as far away as Kuwait and South Korea.

The program will be followed at 8 p.m. June 30 by "Emeril's Military Contest" show, showcasing the talents of U.S. Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard military cookoff winners.

Chef Lagasse, a French-Portuguese American born in Massachusetts who specializes in Cajun and Creole cooking, said he focused on the military because of the respect he has for the armed forces.

"The show was really fun," said Spc. Jessenia Oyola, one of five Soldiers from the Fort Hamilton-based Joint Task Force Empire Shield MTA who sat a few rows from the stage as flavors filled the air. "I had never been to a TV show before and was surprised by the energy that went into it."

What impressed another Soldier was Emeril's sincerity.

"He was really genuine and enthusiastic," said Spc. Neketa Clarke about the world-famous chef. "He saw us and the military winners as celebrities."

Emeril didn't just cook winning entries his way. He asked advise from the winners and joked with them as they instructed him how to prepare their recipes, said Airman 1st Class Justine Roach from McGuire Air Force Base.

The Army winner was Warrant Officer 4 Travis Smith of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in South Korea.

"We're thrilled. This is a great event that gives the military some positive exposure," said Warrant Officer Smith, who coached the popular chef as he prepared his winning recipe. "I'm proud to be part of it."

The U.S. Army Blues Ensemble "Swamp Romp" and The U.S. Army Brass Quintet performed during the show.

Military Recipe Contest winners are:
<b>Army:</b> Chief Warrant Officer 4 Travis Smith, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in South Korea, for "Fire Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Cilantro Cream and Grilled Cajun Catfish."
<b>National Guard:</b> Spc. Andrew Ruga, 222nd Transportation Company, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for "Pecan Crusted Chicken over Field Greens with Caramel Citrus Vinaigrette."
<b>Navy:</b> Petty Officer Joseph Chiarelli from the USS Tarawa stationed in San Diego, for "Cedar Plank Salmon Parmesan with Asian Reduction Sauce over Julienned Vegetables."
<b>Air Force:</b> Technical Sgt. Wesley Williams, dining facility manager at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., for "Rainbow Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Fried Cheddar Grits and a Blueberry Coulis."
<b>Marines:</b> Col. Stewart Navarre, chief of staff at Camp Pendleton, Calif., for "Combat Steak."
<b>Coast Guard:</b> Petty Officer 1st Class Stacey Russell, Sector Long Island Sound in New Haven, Conn., for "Stacey's Pumpkin Pie."

(Steve Davis writes for the Fort Hamilton Public Affairs Office.)

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