FORT HOOD, Texas-Just like clockwork with their attention to details and precision timing, the Fort Hood Culinary Arts team served up a five-star meal to the 41st Fires Brigade at the Culinary Arts Center located on Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 20.

As Team Hood prepares for the 36th Annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Tournament in February, the culinary chefs hosted a luncheon for the command teams, as well as the senior enlisted Rail Gunners.

"Every time we get a chance to prepare a meal for anyone, we're honored," said Staff Sgt. Kyral Hayward, a Jacksonville, Fla. native and team executive for Team Hood. "We take pride in the meals that we prepared because our creations will eventually cross a line from a main course to a work of art."

The lunch consisted of a house salad tossed with a vinaigrette dressing, followed by the main course of a Texas sirloin, with Kansas style rice, and broccoli and cauliflower medley. The carefully planned meal was finished off with a chocolate cake in a blackberry sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

The 20 chefs with Team Hood will head out for the week-long tournament held at Fort Lee, Va. Last year, the team won 38 medals and the judges' award for Best Overall Table. This year the team is will compete for the coveted Installation of the Year Award. For the highest culinary honors, the team will face other culinary teams from all branches of service throughout Europe, Korea and the U.S.

"This is big for us," said Spc. Diego Ortiz-Carrillo, from Mexico City, Mexico, a field team member with Team Hood Culinary Arts Team. "Being on the team is kind of challenging because you won't find yourself preparing the same meals over again. You're constantly expanding your food knowledge and pushing your creativity to new limits. I think we are the best and being the largest installation I think we're naturally front-runners for the Installation of the Year Award."

The team is also competing for several individual awards like top Senior and Junior Armed Forces Chefs of the Year. The two newest members to the team, Pfc. Delano Taylor and Pfc. Alexander Long, competing for Top Junior Chef came from within the ranks of the Rail Gunners.

"I can't down play the work at a regular dining facility because it's strenuous; however, I like the culinary arts team because I get a chance to prefect a craft instead of worry about making meals for the masses," said Taylor, a Chicago native from 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment. "Being with Team Hood has definitely improved my chances of bringing back the junior chef award this year. Plus, I make a mean pork tenderloin."

When the team is not preparing for competitions, they spend their time planning meals, putting on shows at the Culinary Arts Center, teaching classes at local schools, and Fort Hood dining facilities. The team has a cooking show on the Fort Hood channel called "Eat Well" and is scheduled to travel to Atlantic City to do a show on the Food Network Channel in June.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16