Battle for best cooks in the military is back on
Representing the U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Touyer Her from Naval Base Coronado uses a knife to halve a pastry during the Armed Forces Chef of the Year event of the 45th Joint Culinary Training Exercise in March 2020. This year’s JCTE will not be open to the public due to potential COVID-19 transmission concerns. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – The long-running military food service showcase known as the Joint Culinary Training Exercise is back for its 46th iteration after COVID-19 concerns sacked it last year.

Described as the armed forces’ most-unique training event in existence, JCTE runs thru March 11 and features more than 100 culinarians from duty stations around the world cooking up everything from lamb chops to linguini and vying for medals in a competitive training environment.

The Army Quartermaster School hosts JCTE. The American Culinary Federation sanctions it. Competition starts Saturday with the Armed Forces Chef of the Year challenge, a marquee event. The Student Chef of the Year challenge follows on Sunday.

There also are competitive categories for best overall team, Pastry Chef of the Year, Enlisted Aide of the Year, Student Team of the Year and the international event, which has traditionally featured teams from France, England, Canada and Germany.

Furthermore, individuals who stand out with their participation will likely be selected for the prestigious U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team, which represents the Department of Defense in competitive training events around the world at various times of the year.

“I’m very excited to see the show executed this year,” emphasized Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eveline Haliday, a key organizer of the exercise and Culinary Arts Team manager. “I get to see and talk to Soldiers and hear about the training they received and the progression they’ve made.”

The event is not open to the public this year, and it will feature fewer competitive categories due to continued COVID-19 transmission concerns. Additionally, several mitigation measures are in effect to ensure the contestants can train and compete in a safe environment, according to Haliday.

JCTE will conclude with a March 11 awards ceremony. For photos and updates about individual and team performances, follow the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence Facebook page.