Fort Drum Soldiers claim medals in culinary arts competitive event
March 28, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Fort Drum Culinary Team members tested their skills against some of the best chefs in the military March 3-15 at Fort Lee, Va., bringing home gold, silver and bronze medals for their efforts.
While the 38th Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event may be over, the experiences of the more than 200 service members will have a lasting impact on culinary programs across the military. With 500 judged entries, this event is a primary training opportunity for military chefs.
Soldiers from Fort Drum served many different plates of food during the event, including a lobster event, a hot dessert event, individual cold buffet entries, a whole chicken cooking event, and hot pastry event.
"We trained really hard for this," said Sgt. Sarah Proctor, a chef from Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division (LI). "We received more medals this year than any other year Fort Drum has competed."
In the first few days of the events, Sgt. David Allen earned a bronze medal for his five-course event, Sgt. Brandon White received a silver medal for his six plated appetizers, Pfc. Donald Bryan received a bronze medal for her wedding cake, Pfc. Jasmine Blade received a silver medal in the chicken event, Proctor received a bronze medal in the Senior Chef event, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Bogle received a gold medal for his hot dessert.
"I was very happy when I received my gold medal, but the real satisfaction I got was when I see the younger Soldiers learning so much from the event," said Bogle, Fort Drum team captain. "We even had two Soldiers who reenlisted because of the event itself."
The activities at Fort Lee showcase the talents of chefs from around the globe in all branches of the U.S. military. The annual event includes live competitions and displays throughout the entire show, to include public viewing dates at the Fort Lee Field House.
This year, 22 teams competed from all branches of service. Nine teams vied for Culinary Team of the Year; nine competitors participated in the Armed Forces Student Chef of the Year, and 18 competitors battled for the coveted title of Armed Forces Senior Chef of the Year.
Along with testing their skills in one of the many categories, 28 service members also tried for a spot on the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team. The USACAT is the military's national culinary team, and it offers members an opportunity to compete in international-level events like the Culinary Olympics in Europe, while sharpening and broadening their skills.
The training event showed a lot of Soldiers things they normally wouldn't do in their dining facility, so when the contest was over, Soldiers talk among one another on trade secrets to help each other learn new things.
"It was really nice to do something I've never been given the chance to do before," said Spc. Christopher McClinton, a Soldier from 3rd Brigade Combat Team. "I even got the gold medal for Top Junior Chef. I couldn't be happier with my performance."
More than 57 gold medals, 129 silver medals and 121 bronze medals were presented in front of an audience of hundreds.
This year, Fort Drum team members brought home 38 medals, topping the 36 they brought home last year.
Bogle led the medal count with six, followed by Proctor and Sgt. Micah McKamie with four each; Allen, Bryan, White, Sgt. Ryan Woolman and Spc. Marie Espinal with three each; McClinton, Blade, Sgt. Jared Wilson and Spc. Christina Tapia with two each, and Spc. Michael Sanders with one.