By Amy PerryFebruary 16, 2011
FORT LEE, VA. -- (Feb. 17, 2011) -- The 36th Annual Culinary Arts Competition kicks off Feb. 26 and runs through March 11.
The annual event is hosted by the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence and includes culinary teams from each of the services. Both U.S. and overseas installations will be represented. The event is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation.
While the event runs for two weeks, the public viewing days are March 3-9, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., with a Field Competition-only day March 2, which will open at 11 a.m.
During those days, individuals and teams will compete in Junior Chef of the Year, Nutritional Challenge, Student Skills Team, Cold Table Display, Ice Carving, Field Competition, the cooking portion of the Enlisted Aide Competition and Contemporary Cooking categories.
Other parts of the competition include the Senior Chef of the Year, written tests, enlisted aide (uniforms, boards and written tests) and various training classes at the JCCoE.
This year's competition promises to be the largest one in history, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Russell Campbell, Advanced Food Service Training Division chief.
Campbell, who is running the program this year, said there are 15 teams competing for Installation of the Year, which is four more than last year.
"It'll be a scheduling challenge," said Campbell. "But we'll stagger the competitors to make sure everyone gets their chance, and the schedule may change daily."
Each day, the public will be able to see a variety of events as each team competes on different days. For example, while the Fort Bragg, N.C., team is competing in the Nutritional Challenge on March 8, the Fort Hood, Texas, team will compete in the Field Competition.
The Field Competition event, which is always a favorite for onlookers, is once again open to the public. Each year, the event changes slightly, and this year is no different.
"This year, the Field Competition will be in actual containerized kitchens in the Post Field House," said Campbell. "This way, the event is closer to what the competitors would actually cook on downrange."
The Field Competition tickets will go on sale at 11 a.m., March 2-9, at the Post Field House. The cost is $4.25, and only two tickets per person are allowed. Two teams compete each day, and there will be approximately 75 tickets available for each team.
The ticket sales times have changed this year to better serve diners and continue to facilitate the competition in a timely manner, Campbell said.
"At the end of the day, the event is for the competitors," he said. "While we want the public to enjoy the meal and the experience, we want to make sure we're providing an opportunity for the competitors above all else."
Teams submit their menus before the competition. Those and other details about the event can be found at www.facebook.com/army.culinary.
Another feature of this year's competition is its availability on the Sustainment Knowledge Network, said Campbell. Anyone who has a login can view the competition live.
Cooking demonstrations also will be held in the field house March 3-9, with demos starting at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The awards ceremony is set for March 11, where medals will be awarded to the winners and the Installation of the Year will be named.