Minot Airman competes in Food Network Challenge
By Maj. Dani Johnson, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 23, 2006
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFPN) -- The smell and taste of cookies hot from the oven for many evokes happy memories of childhood. For one Airman here, his fresh-baked cookies landed him on national television.
Senior Airman David Sutherland, a 741st Missile Squadron chef, was selected by the Food Network and competed March 20 in Denver at the Cookie Challenge for recognition as the best amateur cookie baker with a chance to win $10,000.
“The competition was an exciting opportunity,” Airman Sutherland said. “It was a neat challenge to present my cookies.”
Airman Sutherland has been baking for more than five years, ever since he got involved in his family’s restaurant in Fairland, Ind.
“I enjoy making cookies because it’s relaxing,” he said. “You can lose yourself in the baking.”
He does admit though his fellow Airmen do tease him about his love of baking, but he is quick to add they never turn down a chance to taste test the results.
For the competition, Airman Sutherland had to bake four different types of cookies and present them to the judges. He was judged on originality, taste and presentation. He chose to bake a cowboy cookie with coconut, rolled oats and pecans, a Moroccan cookie called the “Desert Rose,” a peanut butter butterscotch cookie dipped in chocolate and a snickerdoodle pop cookie.
“The favorite of all my friends is the cowboy cookie,” he said. “It’s been in my family for more than 45 years, I added a drizzle of boysenberry sauce to it for the competition.”
The challenge was a learning experience according to Airman Sutherland.
“I was second after the first two rounds and then the high altitude got to my fruit cookie, the Desert Rose, and it didn’t puff up the way it was supposed to,” he said.
He competed against four other bakers. One, Saptosa Foster, had recently won the Super Seafood Grill Off with Food Network Challenge.
“All of the ladies were really nice and Saptosa gave me advice to keep a positive attitude and have fun,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to meet some amazing chefs and learn more.”
While he finished at the back of the pack, Airman Sutherland had a lot of fun and the Food Network said they enjoyed his personality and would like to have him back in a future competition.
“Senior Airman Sutherland has simply had an amazing first year in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Tom Summers, 741st MS commander. “He was promoted below the zone, selected as the youngest missile alert facility site senior chef and now national recognition on the Food Network. It’s unbelievable and very well deserved.”
The show will air in the late summer.