KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Soldiers from across the 21st Theater Sustainment Command dinning facility footprint competed for the title of 21st TSC Culinary Warrior of the Year, Sept. 8, at the Clock Tower Café on Kleber Kaserne.
The competition started at 5 a.m. with six culinary specialists ranging from junior non-commissioned officers to private first class; competing in a series of events designed to test their physical fitness through a physical fitness test, Army knowledge through a military board, and their culinary expertise during a "mystery basket" cook-off.
"There was a lot the Soldier had to do to get ready for today's competition" sand Sgt. 1st Class David Burch, competition judge. "Not only did they have to study regular board questions that any other Soldier studies, but they had to study MOS specific questions for food-service related items."
The highlight of the day for many Soldiers, was the "mystery basket" cook-off. Participants were given the opportunity to show off their creative side of culinary arts when they were presented a basket with surprise ingredients and asked to create a meal to feed three people.
"This portion of the competition is really a challenge for the Soldiers because we're used to working in the dining halls where we normally are preparing meals in large quantities," said Staff Sgt. Shaniece Stokes, who helped sponsor the competition.
Participants were judged on aroma, plate presentation, taste, texture, and uniqueness.
"I'm looking forward to the cooking portion of the contest," said Pfc. Karl-Joseph Tuang, a first-year competitor. "I feel it will challenge my ability as a culinary specialist."
Sgt. Aaron Warren from the Baumholder dining facility and Pfc. Chad Lewis from the Kleber Kaserne dining facility were announced as 21st Theater Sustainment Command's Culinary Warriors of the Year for the competition's two divisions of non-commissioned officer and junior enlisted.
"I'm truly proud of all the participant in today's competition," said Sgt. 1st Class Keshon Henry, Kleber Kaserne dining facility manager and competition judge. "For the junior Soldier, I was really interested in seeing how prepared and ready they would be. Being able to catch these Soldiers early in their career and provide feedback and a growth opportunity, is really what today was about."