Food Show
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Sgt. Raymond Haley samples a few pieces of smoked beef jerky during the Theodor Wille Intertrade food show Aug. 5 at the Patrick Henry Village Pavilion in Heidelberg. The annual event attracts military food service personnel from all over Europe.

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- For Sgt. 1st Class Howard Shakespear it was a toss-up between the lemon-pepper fish and the mandarin chicken. Both received high marks along with a few other dishes the Decatur, Ill., native had the pleasure of sampling. He was also pretty partial to the Sweet and Spicy Tabasco sauce.

Shakespear, manager of the Coleman Consolidated Dining Facility in Mannheim, was just one of the many military food service professionals from across Europe gathered inside of the Patrick Henry Village Pavilion ballroom for the annual Theodor Wille Intertrade food show Thursday and Friday.

The show is designed to bring military affiliated buyers and sellers together to see firsthand the variety of food products available for use in dining facilities.

This year's attendees were greeted by a smorgasbord of pasta, pies, pound cakes, meats, seafood, beverages, desserts and more.

The intoxicating mish-mash of delicious smells made it hard to determine the hour of the day, as whispers of pancakes and cinnamon rolls floated nicely alongside that of barbecued turkey wings, jambalaya and roadside chili.

Close to 60 vendors packed the ballroom to promote their mouth-watering wares to food service civilians and Soldiers like Shakespear, who admitted this was the first time in his 20-year military career he had ever been to a food show.

"I was always doing something else where I couldn't make the food shows, but I've always watched my dining facility managers come back with bags of different products and foods and I always wanted to go, too," Shakespear said.

"It's a great opportunity for vendors to interact with the people who are buying and using their products," he said.

The food service specialist also admits attending the shows is another way he and his counterparts can stay competitive.

"The Army is in a business, and as food service we are competing for business with places like McDonalds, Burger King or other places off post. We want to offer the Soldiers quality meals, and we also want to provide a healthy variety to draw them in," Shakespear added.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Donaldson is the food advisor for U.S. Army Europe and was one of several people responsible for helping ensure the show went off without a hitch.

"We always want to make things better for the Soldiers when they're here and when they go downrange," Donaldson said. "Wherever Soldiers go, we want to ensure they receive fresh quality meals. This is a way to continue to move forward and take care of America's sons and daughters."

Several of the products showcased at the annual event are familiar family staples easily found in many kitchens and on many dining room tables.

Paul Curran, general manager food division for Theodor Wille Intertrade and a retired Soldier, says he's proud to bring service members a taste of home no matter where their travels may take them.

"When I was in the military, it was the 'green cans' Army ... it's much better now, and it's great to be a part of it and to help out the military," Curran said. "We hope people enjoyed the show, and we look forward to seeing them next year if they didn't make it this year."

In addition to the two-day food show, there was also a General Mills-sponsored baking class where attendees learned how to prepare fudge crinkle cookies, black pepper parmesan biscuits and princess bars from scratch.

Students also learned how to implement new baking techniques and recipes designed to please the eye as well as the pallet.

The annual TWI food show is open to food service personnel from all service branches.
The event is closed to the general public.

Page last updated Thu August 12th, 2010 at 06:10