KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Three Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command collected a combined total of five gold, two silver and three bronze medals for the U.S. Army Europe and Installation Management Command-Europe team at the 35th U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va., March 12.

The competitors from the 21st TSC who took home the 10 culinary arts awards were Spc. Matthew Hendriks, Sgt. Kevin Auvil and Sgt. Joseph Dinuzzo.

"My goal for this competition is trying to win gold in five different events, but the biggest goal is for us to bring home installation of year," said Hendriks, a food service specialist for the 28th Transportation Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st TSC, when interviewed in November about his selection to compete at the Army level.

While Hendriks won three gold and two silver medals, he got his biggest wish. The USAREUR and IMCOM-E team took home the competition's top team award - the Installation of the Year Award. This was the first time a team from Europe has claimed the top prize since 1992.
Overall, the USAREUR and IMCOM-E team won 22 gold, nine silver and five bronze medals.

In the individual competitions, the Soldiers were judged on presentation and general impression, composition, correct preparation and serving.

"We all worked great as a team. We each pushed each other to do our best and then pushed a little harder to do even better," said Auvil, a food service specialist with 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade, 21st TSC.

That team traveled to Fort Pickett, Va., in February to spend 30 days training for the competition, which was held March 12-13 at Fort Lee, Va.

The training that helped the most in the competition was the guidance and knowledge of Sgt. Maj. Mark Warren, a former chef of the year and the team coach for the USAREUR and IMCOM-E team, said Auvil.

"He made it a point to give us each individual training and taught me new techniques I had never used before and ways to do things better. I have learned so much from him that I couldn't even begin to describe," said Auvil.

Dinuzzo, a food service specialist from 54th Engineer Bn., 18th Engineer Bde., received one gold medal and two bronze medals during the competition.

The Army's culinary arts competition is the largest annual culinary competition in the United States.