Staff Sgt. Tu Nguyen, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron food specialist, and Lt Col. Trent Carpenter, 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron commander, share the grill during the installation’s first Warrior Chef Challenge April 1, 2012, here at the Memorial Plaza. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Charles)
Members of the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron team slice vegetables while competing in the installation’s first Warrior Chef Challenge April 1, 2012, at the Memorial Plaza. The installation’s Rising 6 organization sponsored the competition as a teambuilding and moral event based on the annual Air Force-wide cooking competition held in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Charles)
Members of the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron prepare food during the installation’s first Warrior Chef Challenge April 1, 2012, at the Memorial Plaza. The installation’s Rising 6 organization sponsored the competition as a teambuilding and morale event based on the annual Air Force-wide cooking competition held in Washington, D.C. The EFSS team went on to win the first session of the competition and will compete against the 379th Expeditionary Medical Squadron, the winner the second session, at a later date. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Charles)
Staff Sgt. Denine Deal, a 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron member deployed from Fairchild AFB, Wash., bastes a chicken breast during the installation’s first Warrior Chef Challenge April 1, 2012, at the Memorial Plaza. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Charles)
by Senior Airman Michael Charles
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
4/5/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Apricots and dates were secret ingredients that vexed ten teams competing for bragging rights at the installation's first Warrior Chef Competition April 1 at Memorial Plaza. During the closing stages of their cooking time, the secret ingredients were introduced as a mandatory item to be incorporated into each team's meal.
"We tried to give the competitors something that would throw them off," said Staff Sgt. Ayesha Garrett, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group laboratory technician and Rising 6 president. "It's hard to give somebody an item at crunch time and tell them to add it to a meal they had been preparing for more than half an hour."
Each team was given a set of ingredients and only 45 minutes to produce a meal for three judges. It was up to them to figure out how to make their meal as memorable as possible.
The Rising 6 organization sponsored the competition as a team building and morale event based on the annual Air Force-wide cooking competition held in Washington, D.C.
Deployed service members split into ten teams of as many as five people representing several organizations around the base. The teams were then organized into two groups; one in the morning and one a night. Apricots were the secret ingredient for the morning competition, dates in the evening.
"Each team showed their creativity," said Chief Master Sgt. David Klink, 379th Expeditionary Mission Support Group superintendent and warrior chef competition judge. "Not only did we have teams cooking traditionally but we also had some thinking way out of the box to make their meal different than everybody else's. One team even used soda."
Once their time was over, the competitors were judged based on their organization as a team and their meal's originality, presentation and taste.
"In a competition such as this where everyone is supplied basically with the same ingredients, each team had to dig deep to distinguish themselves from the other," said Klink. "That's when all the other categories came into play--spices used, tenderness of the chicken, originality of the way each side dish was cooked all became a big factor in how we judged. To win you needed them all."
The 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron and the 379th EMDG were declared the winners of their respective groups of competition.
"We just wanted to compete and do well," said Maj. Steven Goudeau, 379 EFSS deputy commander and a member of the winning team. "We were surprised that we won but confident that we could."
Each winning team member was presented a $25 gift certificate and bragging rights until the next competition.
"We are looking forward to the next competition," said Goudeau. "We saw a lot of things we could do better and are anxious to put those into action the next time."
Plans are being made for the 379th EFSS and 379th EMDG to compete in the near future to determine the installation's best "warrior chef" team.
4/9/2012 5:24:31 PM ET Hey they probably had to kill the animal themselves thus they are referred to as warriors. Wow now that I think about it not a bad backstory.
4/6/2012 4:37:56 AM ET Really they are using the term Warrior to describe this activity. What has happened to the AF it definitely suffers from an identity crisis.