Members of the Korea Culinary Arts team served a three course meal on Thursday, January 12 at the Camp Walker Mountain Inn, to the Area IV community to prepare for the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event at Fort Lee in March.
Korean Culinary Arts Team Manager Staff Sgt. promotable Evelyn Esposito oversaw her team serving 50 meals start to finish in under six hours to meet one of the standards for the competition at Fort Lee.
"We started at seven and we have to have 50 complete meals put out by 1300, a three course meal," said Esposito. "All this was cooked off of that trailer, not in the kitchen that is why you see the Soldiers running back and forth. The MKT is parked in the back."
A MKT is a Mobile Kitchen Trailer. It is used to cook hot meals for Soldiers in the field and other austere environments.
The team served a three-course meal which included a Choux of Shrimp, Seared Beef Tenderloin and Tiramisu.
"For the first event it went pretty well," said James T. Mann, food program manager, 403rd Army Field Support Brigade, Logistics Readiness Center Daegu.
The Soldiers that join the Culinary Arts team are some of the best Food Service specialists around.
"They normally have tryouts and come from all over the peninsula," said Esposito. "We have some from Humphries, Camp Carroll. K-16 and Camp Henry. There are a total of nine on the team this year."
There are multiple events that the team competes in. These are determined by the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, which host the competition every year.
"There are different categories that we compete in," added Esposito. "There are student skills, chef of the year, student chef of the year and nutrition, which is a three course meal under 1000 calories. Then we compete for culinary team of the year, because we have to be in all those different categories to compete for that."
"Events are the one hour live cooking, making hot and cold pastries," said Sgt. Joseph Evans, team captain. The nutrition challenge they switched that up. It used to be a mystery diet but now it is a total dietitian."
So the nutrition category, you actually have to have your menu, your selected recipes, a 1000 calories or less," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Carl J. Schimpf, 2nd Sustainment Brigade, food advisor. "They have to be able to show the breakdown of nutrition, how many fat grams, calories and sodium. To go with the Go for Green campaign."
Last year 22 teams from across the Army represented their region, Division or Corps at the culinary competition.
"Every division submits a team, at the division level in the states," said Schimpf. "101st, 82nd, 10th Mountain, 1st Armored Division, every division has a team that is consolidated from their area.
This was not a onetime event. If you missed the first meal, there will be a few opportunities to attend between now and when the team heads to Fort Lee to compete.
"The team will be serving lunch every Friday until they leave for the competition," said Mann.