'Grill Sergeants' to debut on Pentagon Channel
November 13, 2007
FORT LEE, Va. (Army News Service, Nov. 14, 2007) -- Under the hot lights of the television studio, Sgt. 1st Class Brad Turner was the featured chef for the taping of a new Pentagon Channel lifestyle program called, "The Grill Sergeants," which will debut later this fall.
In between shoots at the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence, Turner said it was an honor to be chosen as the show's first host.
"I have been humbled by the amount of work from a lot of great people here and the camaraderie among everyone putting this show together," said Sgt. 1st Class Turner.
Brian Natwick, Pentagon Channel general manager, said the concept for the show originated to expand the channel's lifestyles programming. Having already filmed an exercise show called, "Fit for Duty," Mr. Natwick said a cooking show would fit well into the lineup.
"In lifestyle programming, the goal was to put an emphasis on readiness," said Mr. Natwick. "The first show focuses on physical fitness, and the new show highlights healthy eating. The two shows meld well in providing information on how to stay fit and healthy so that our military members can continue on with their mission."
Thursday's taping was all about the family dining experience. Segments included "Saving Private Dining: Reviving the Art of Eating Together," and "For the Love of Family Favs ... Bringing the Family Closer."
"It's important to emphasize family cooking, and just families, period," said Sgt. 1st Class Turner. "On this show, you'll hear me say, 'Share your love, share your food. And that's because the military Family moves at such a high tempo. Mothers, fathers, even grandparents are working and deploying, and when you come back, you need that reconnection time. What better time to connect than what you do at least three times a day, and that's eat. Even if it's over bacon and eggs, it's important to emphasize family-building activities."
While the focus was on family fare that day, other episodes featured a variety of segments like a 20-minute pasta show; "Green Day," putting green vegetables on display, and a Thanksgiving special.
Over the course of the five-day filming, other chefs got in the act, to include Sgt. Joshua Spiess, enlisted aide, and Staff Sgt. Martina Warren of the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Sparks, ACES culinary division chief, made his screen debut as a guest taster and was impressed with the magnitude of the production.
Considering a week earlier, the production studio was simply a supply room, CWO4 Sparks said the small crew did incredible work in a short time.
"It's amazing how they've transitioned all that into a studio worthy of any Food Network show," said CWO4 Sparks. "All I can say is watch out Emeril and watch out Rachael Ray. Here comes 'The Grill Sergeants.'"
Shooting 12 episodes in less than a week, Sgt. 1st Class Turner was considerably fatigued. But as a military chef, he said that any opportunity to highlight the military culinarians is time well spent.
"It's groundbreaking for food service to be placed in this kind of spotlight," said Sgt. 1st Class Turner. "With the amount of chefs in the military, both active and retired, this really validates the excellence in the food service program."
(Mike Strasser writes for the Fort Lee Traveller.)