Healthy eating: A recipe for success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class David C. Danford
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 374th Force Support Squadron are working in concert with Certified Master Chef James Hanyzeski to improve the nutritional quality of the meals served to Airmen at the Samurai Café dining facility on Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Hanyzeski, a supporter of the Healthy Base Initiative, or HBI, has been travelling to military installations to share recipes and techniques with the military chefs.

The Defense Department introduced the HBI program to 14 military installations and agencies in 2013. The initiative works to improve physical fitness in the military community by encouraging increased physical activity and improved nutritional choices.

Yokota is one of two active-duty Air Force bases participating in the program to promote healthy living for Airmen.

"I enjoy working with the military because of their ingrained discipline," Hanyzeski said. "You tell them what you need and they get the job done."

After hands-on training with Hanyzeski, the dining facility, or DFAC, staff put into practice the new skills taught to them in the kitchen, preparing a healthy menu that would be presented to members of wing leadership and a small group of Airmen.

"This was a great opportunity for our services Airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Janet Evans, the 374th FSS NCO in charge of operations. "They got to experience the more glamorous side of being a chef and were shown that even in a military DFAC we can be creative."

By making small changes to recipes that are already served at the Samurai Café, Airmen can improve both the nutritional value and taste of the meals offered at Yokota. Hanyzeski gave plenty of practical examples of this.

"People are more concerned with their health now," Evans said. "We have to make sure our products meet the consumer's needs."

During his visit, Hanyzeski repeatedly highlighted the importance of their job to the services staff.

"People trust their lives to you every time you cook for them," Hanyzeski said. "You have to make sure that trust is well placed."