FORT HOOD, Texas - The Freeman Cafe wants to be recognized for having the best chow on Fort Hood and in the U.S. Army. It's a lofty goal, and an achievable one according to the food service professionals that work there.

"At the post level we're just one of three dining facilities competing," said Sgt. 1st Class Carl Allen who is in charge of the chow hall. "The winner will go to the Department of the Army 2010 Philip A. Connelly Awards Competition to contend against all of the other winners in the service."

The competition looks for those dining facilities that exceed Army standards and operate at a level that showcases teamwork, professionalism, quality, and service. The judging began in March at installations Army wide.

"Everyone was excited, motivated, and ready to go," said Allen. "I think we did really well."

At Fort Hood, the Freeman, Patriots, and Eagle's Nest dining facilities are competing against each other. Those chow halls were judged in the areas of food preparation, taste, nutrition, service, and sanitation.

"It's a food-service prestige program," Allen said. "They really judge the whole facility top to bottom, even the appearance of the food-service uniform."

The judges graded and evaluated the Soldiers on a myriad of criteria ranging from record keeping, menus, cooking procedures, site preparation, and quality of food, both in garrison and field environments.

"They also checked for consistent quality in everything served," he said. "And at Freeman, we make sure the last Soldier gets the same exact quality that the first Soldier received."

This competition is a big deal for Allen and his team, and he said he hopes the judges were impressed by his Soldiers' fine food service during their visit.

"The menu on the day of the judging featured roast beef, stuffed fish and Cornish hens," said Allen. "Those types of entrAfAes are typically what one can find on our menu at Freeman."

The 4th Sustainment Brigade and 1st Medical Brigade operate the Freeman Cafe, and it serves the Soldiers within those units and the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

"Now, the only thing left to do is to wait for the judges results," he said. "But we will continue to serve the best chow at Fort Hood, in my opinion, no matter what those results are."