SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Whether it is trying to be part of a demonstration team or an elite unit, competitions are held to determine who is selected to join these highly decorated groups of Soldiers. The Army Golden Knights and the Army Band are examples of these units.

One less-known competition is the 36th Annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition.

The U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition tests food service specialists' skills and knowledge about cooking and food presentation with the rules based on the guidelines set forth by the American Culinary Federation.

The competition will be held at Fort Lee, Va., the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence. The teams competing are representing installations, not just units, said Master Sgt. Derek Rivers, Food Services Manager, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB). The competitors are chosen by their superiors based on their dedication to the job and the level of basic skills demonstrated in their respective dining facilities.
The Wheeler Army Airfield Dining Facility (DFAC) won last year's Thanksgiving competition for best display and food on Oahu. The CAB has eight Soldiers from this DFAC participating in this competition after tryouts.

"Cooking to me is like basketball to Michael Jordan," said Spc. Antawn Dansbury, food service specialist, E Company, 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB. "I was excited to get selected for the team. This is a big step in my career, and to me, shows my seniors' confidence in me to nominate me for tryouts."

Even though the competition is to recognize those who excel in the food service workplace, the competition still encourages a competitive environment between food service specialists which is the objective of the competition. It clearly is to improve the overall quality of Army food service, provide training for the Soldier, provide recognition for excellence in culinary skills, and to provide an incentive for competitive programs of major Army commands in food service.

The competitors will be tested in several categories during the event. Some of these include pastry, showpieces, student knowledge exams, and student team competition. To help with this, the CAB has Ernesto Limcaco, a corporate executive chef from Y. Hata and Company, who accompanies them to the competition and helps train the team on areas that need development, said Rivers.

However, before the Soldiers are allowed to leave to compete in this competition, they must receive approval from the brigade commander.

"Colonel Tate and Command Sergeant Major Ruiz supported the Soldiers heading to the competition," said Rivers. "I want to give a special thanks to [them] for allowing the CAB to participate in this event."