FORT LEE, Va. (Army News Service, Feb. 15, 2007) - Some 200 Soldier-chefs from Army installations around the world will trade body armor and M-16 rifles for filet knives, spatulas and pastry bags here March 5-16 during the 32nd annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition.

The Soldiers will exhibit their talents in preparing hot foods, cold buffets, pastries and chocolate works of art to earn individual and team gold, silver and bronze medals in 14 categories.

Internationally known chefs will judge the competitors on taste and technique.

"These warriors will battle it out to determine who is the best in the military," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Sparks, chief of the culinary craft skills training branch here. "The Army Slogan is Army Strong. Our food service professionals are strong on the battlefield as well as in the kitchen."

The competition also gives Soldiers a chance to try out for the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team. The team will compete against other national military teams at the World Culinary Olympics in 2008.

In 2004, the USACAT competed in the World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, to capture second place overall, 16 gold medals and 17 silver medals.