FORT LEE, Va. - Although the 39th Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event may be over, the experience that more than 200 food service professionals gained will have a lasting impact on culinary programs across the Armed Forces. The event featured 465 judged entries, which made the gathering of culinarians the leading training opportunity for military chefs.

"Overall, this competitive training event offers a unique opportunity to see a different side of military chefs," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Charles H. Talley Jr., chief, Advanced Food Service Training Division, Joint Culinary Center of Excellence. "They continually challenge themselves to make themselves better. That's what the competition is really about - training, where all the chefs have the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques."

This joint service training event brings service members from around the globe to learn about advanced food service preparation and provides them an opportunity to earn American Culinary Federation credentials. The ACF operates a comprehensive certification program for chefs that is recognized as the industry standard for food service credentialing.

JCCoE is part of the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, Combined Arms Support Command. The school trains and educates Soldiers, Civilians as well as members of other services and nations in quartermaster skills and functions.

This year, there were 19 teams from all branches of service competing in various categories. Along with the team events, 16 competitors participated in the Armed Forces Student Chef of the Year event and 20 service members vied for the title of Armed Forces Chef of the Year. The Armed Forces Master Chef of the Year category had two competitors demonstrating their advanced levels of experience.

Along with testing and enhancing their skills during the training event, 28 service members also tried for a spot on the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team, which is the military's national culinary team. The joint service team offers military chefs the opportunity to sharpen and broaden their food service professionalism.

More than 20 gold medals, 105 silver medals and 138 bronze medals were presented today in front of an audience of hundreds at the post theater.

The awardees were:

Culinary Team of the Year:
Fort Stewart, Ga.
Runner up: Hawaii

Winners in the other major competition categories are:
Armed Forces Chef of the Year:
Sgt. Sarah Deckert, enlisted aide to Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command.

Armed Forces Masters Chef of the Year:
Senior Chief Petty Officer Derrick Davenport, enlisted aide to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Armed Forces Student Chef of the Year:
Pvt. Rachelle Columbino -- U.S. Army Europe

Army Enlisted Aide of the Year:
Sgt. 1st Class Dwight Copeland, enlisted aide to Lt. Gen. Frederick Hodges, commander, Allied Land Command

Student Team Skills Competition:
Fort Stewart, Ga.

Military Hot Kitchen Competition:
Fort Hood, Texas
Runner up: Fort Stewart, Ga.

Nutritional Hot Food Challenge:
Sgt. Maj. David Turcotte and Staff Sgt. Dianna Royal, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Winners in special categories included:
Best in Class - Contemporary Pastry (Cat P):
Pfc. Yin Jenkins, Fort Riley, Kan.

Best in Class -- Hot Food Cooking (Cat K):
Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Saiyasak, U.S. Coast Guard

Best Exhibit in Show (Cat A, Cold Platter):
Sgt. Daniel Parks, Hawaii

Best Exhibit in Show (Cat B, Cold Appetizers):
Pfc. Anthony Edwards, Hawaii

Best Exhibit in Show (Cat. C, Patisserie/Confectionery):
Pfc. Joann Castro, Korea

Best Exhibit in Show (Cat. D, Showpiece):
Spc. Jamie Nakamoto, Fort Hood, Texas

Most Artistic Exhibit in Show
Spc. Jamie Nakamoto, Fort Hood, Texas

Judges Special Award (Cold Food Table)