Third Annual Food Expo comes to Stewart
October 26, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Soldiers, Families and Department of Defense Civilians flocked to Club Stewart for Fort Stewart's Third Annual Food Expo, Oct. 20. The expo brought in over sixty vendors, as well as a group of Soldiers performing a field cooking demonstration.
"Events like this encourage culinary growth in our dining facilities by promoting creativity and continuous improvement of food service concepts," said Cornelius Williams, Fort Stewart food service program manager. "It also exposes our dining facility cooks and our Soldiers to new, improved and healthier foods."
Club Stewart staff were also at the event, including Sarah Collier, a Club Stewart prep cook.
"Food shows are a good opportunity to get out products and see what people are interested in," said Collier as she made crepes for an expo attendee. "The expo truly has been an adventure."
A containerized kitchen (CK) was set up in the parking lot to give Families and Civilians a taste of what Soldiers experience in the field.
"We set up to give Civilians and Soldiers a look at what Soldiers eat while they are in the field," said Sgt. Angela Bean, food service sergeant in 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team. "All the serving lines and water points are set up as if we were in the field. They get to see what Soldiers go through on a regular basis, these are what our guys are out there doing. Soldiers are eating well, and people need to know that. We try to put our heart and soul into it so the Soldiers get the best."
The CK is a new and improved version of the Mobile Kitchen Trailer that has recently been distributed to Army units.
"The CK can feed a lot more Soldiers and has upgrades," Sgt. Bean said. "There are a lot of toys for the cooks to play with and we are able to put out higher quality meals. The biggest thing is that it has air conditioning. The MKTs got pretty hot. It also has a full size refrigerator, an oven, and a food warmer."
For the vendors at the expo, talking with attendees about their products is vital to their businesses.
"Being here on the base works great because you get to see more Soldiers in one spot," said Julia McCoy, Lakeside Foods.
Working at a table laden with various cheeses and omelets, McCoy wasn't short of Soldiers or Family Members to talk to.
"A lot of Soldiers and Civilians hung out here today because they like cheese a lot," she laughs. "But it gives you the opportunity to come out and try the different flavors. It's always nice to sample something before you try it on a main dish or even going to the grocery store. Talking to people was my favorite part, I really enjoy it."
Although vendors get to use the Soldiers as a sounding board, and Civilians get to experience Army field cooking, for Williams, it's about the Soldiers and their Families.
"We plan this every year to show Soldiers our appreciation, as well as give vendors an opportunity to meet the Soldiers that eat their food," Williams said. "It's a great opportunity for Soldiers and Families to get together and have a good day out, stress free. I would like to welcome the various vendors here today and thank them for giving Fort Stewart the opportunity to see, and sample, some of the food being made available to our Soldiers. I would like to thank the garrison and division support staff that made this food show possible."