Spc. Carlos O. Cruz, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, brought home a gold and silver medal to Fort Riley from the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee Virginia, March 4-9.

Cruz was selected as the Student Chef of the Year during last year's competition. This year he was awarded a gold medal in the Profession K competition. He received a silver medal in the Cold Table A1 competition.

In the Professional K competition he had to prepare four servings of a fish entree within an hour. The Cold Table A1 competition consisted of Cruz preparing a cold buffet platter.

Cruz was also selected to be a member of the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team for the next two years. As a member of the team, Cruz will participate in the 2018 Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg.

"It is a prestigious honor to be on the team," Cruz said. "Last year I looked up to them. I wanted to get to that point, that next higher step. Now that I have made it, I want to elevate myself and reach higher goals."

Warrant Officer Edmund Perez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div., was awarded a silver medal in the Pastry competition. Perez is also the team commander for the "Big Red One" Soldiers and the 1st Infantry Division Culinary Arts Team.

Perez and Spc. Gerald Geffrard, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st CAB, teamed up to take a silver medal in the Nutritional Hot Food Challenge Team competition. As a team, they prepared a nutritional three-course meal within a two-and-a-half hour time limit.

The purpose of this event is to test the ability to execute and present a meal using the nutritional guidelines and recommendations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"The Soldiers did very well," Perez said. "There were a lot of folks coming in and out, especially after Cruz won his gold medal. We had more foot traffic in our prep kitchen because they knew Fort Riley came to compete. There were only four us, but we came to compete."