FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The Fort Drum Culinary Arts Team were determined and ready to bring their skills to the table at the 44th Annual Joint Culinary Training Exercise Mar. 6-15, 2019 at Fort Lee, Virginia.

After all the scores were tallied, the team placed second overall by a close margin to the Marine Corps Culinary Team.

The JCTE's overall purpose is to promote growth in the culinary profession and provides the opportunity to raise culinary excellence and professionalism. The American Culinary Federation sanctioned event showcases the talents of military chefs from all branches of the military.

"What they learn at these competitions is what they will use to improve their installations back home," said Master Sgt. Maurice D. Copeland, the Senior Brigade Culinary Management NCO. "We make sure the warfighter has a nutritious meal to accomplish their mission."

The Culinary Arts Team made up of five professionals and five student competitors with a team captain providing training and guidance to both groups.

The team cumulatively won 23 medals with their best event coming from the student team, who came in first place out of 23 teams from all over the world including all branches of the military.

"The student team is very talented," said Sgt. Nickesha Carmichael, the Captain of the Fort Drum Culinary Arts team.

The team had to overcome many obstacles while preparing for this competition.

I was the youngest captain of all the teams; usually, it's a Staff Sgt. or Sgt. 1st Class in charge, said Sgt. Carmichael, in her first year as a professional culinary competitor.

"We were working over 12 hour days to prepare for this," said Carmichael. "We're a completely different group from last year and trying to get the new soldiers to understand the seriousness of this competition and what they can accomplish was rough."

Some of the soldiers of the student team had their take on the preparation.

"Long days and long nights," said Pfc. Jordon Broadway, a culinary specialist with the 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI). "We put in PT at 5:30 a.m., came in at 8:00 a.m. and we would leave late. We did cuts every day and would do a dish over and over until we got comfortable with it," said Broadway.

Pfc. Tylor Brooks, a culinary specialist with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and Pfc. James Ivey, a culinary specialist with the 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade were last-minute substitutions to the team just weeks before the competition.

"We got on the team last minute, we all had different personalities, but we came together and executed," said Brooks.

"I am super proud of them," added Carmichael.

The next step for the student team is the American Culinary Federation National Convention Aug. 4, 2019, in Orlando, FL.

Because the student team won first place at the JCTE, they are automatically entered into the ACF National Convention to compete against all of the best student teams in the country and will be the only representative for the military as a whole.

"No military team has ever won at Nationals," said Pfc. Carlos Morales, a culinary specialist with the 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade. "It's a challenge that we're going to take head on and make the best of it. We are going to be ready."

Sgt. Carmichael, Pfc. Brooks and Pfc. Broadway were also selected for the prestigious U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team and will represent the United States at the World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany next year.

Awards:
Professional Chef Team:
Sgt. Nickesha Carmichael (Team Captain), 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
Sgt. Maileny Frett (Manager), 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade
Sgt. Keisha Morgan, 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
Sgt. Benjamin Stein, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
Spc. Edgar Narravo, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Spc. Johnny Simmons, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Student Chef Team:
Pfc. Tylor Brooks, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1 Silver
Pfc. Jordon Broadway, 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 1 Silver
Pfc. James Ivey, 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 1 Silver
Pfc. Evelyn Thompson, 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 1 Silver
Pfc. Carlos Morales, 593rd Quartermaster Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 1 Silver