MANG Warrior Chefs serve up eggstra-special entrées
By John Turner, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 12, 2014
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Eggs were on the menu as five culinary teams scrambled for top honors in the fourth quarter Warrior Chef Competition Dec. 4 at the Elkhorn Dining Facility.
In a departure from past events, two of the teams were from outside of the Air Force's services career field. This was to diversify the competition and build camaraderie on base.
The chefs worked as two-person teams and had 70 minutes to plan and prepare their meals. In a change from previous Warrior Chef competitions, teams could only use the ingredients provided in a bag of mystery groceries revealed at the start of the competition. The theme of the competition--eggs--was also kept secret until then. Chefs were allowed to bring their own spices, condiments, utensils and dishware to the event.
Staff Sgts. Todd Monroe and Sara Hardy, both from the Montana Air National Guard's 120th Force Support Squadron, took home first-place trophy skillets after wowing judges with a grand slam breakfast bowl and apple crepe dessert.
"The excitement in the kitchen provided an extreme amount of positive energy, especially towards the end," said Hardy. "Although it was stressful, the competition was a lot of fun."
This quarter's competition allowed teams from outside of the services career field to participate. Facility managers from the 341st Operations Group were invited to compete in this Warrior Chef because FMs often voluntarily assist with food preparation at missile alert facilities, said event coordinator Staff Sgt. Amber Moore, 341st Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of missile alert feeding operations. While only one FM team accepted the challenge, the offer generated additional interest within the 341st OG and two missile officers became the fifth team to enter the crucible of the kitchen.
"We're trying to open Warrior Chef to the entire base so other people can compete if they are interested," said Moore. "We wanted to make this a smorgasbord or competitors."
As the chefs completed their presentations, they brought samples before a panel of judges to review. Col. Ken Speidel, 341st Maintenance Group commander, Lt. Col. Allan Fiel, 341st Security Forces Group vice commander, Gerrard Contreras, Malmstrom Air Force Base Commissary manager, and Senior Airman Austin Beaty, 341st Communications Squadron and Air Force Association representative, scored each presentation based on taste, appearance, creativity and use of the theme ingredient. The dress and appearance of each chef team was also included in the tally of points.
Ultimately, the friendly competition was a way to promote creativity and allow teams to express their culinary skills.
"I encourage the squadron leadership to have their members participate in future competitions," said Hardy. "I know there are some creative chefs out there and this is a great place to show off their talent."