Military chefs deal with the unknown, turn it into tasty treats

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Two military chefs prepare their meal during the 2015 Military Culinary Competition, that took place in front of the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26, 2015.   Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes
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Two military chefs prepare their meal during the 2015 Military Culinary Competition, that took place in front of the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26, 2015. Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes

Military chefs deal with the unknown, turn it into tasty treats

by: Meredith Tibbetts | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: September 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Who was the best at dealing with the unknown? Was it the Marine Corps or the Army? The Navy or the Air Force? Maybe it was the folks at the Pentagon or the Coast Guard.

Saturday morning, the services brought out the best chefs they have for the 12th annual Military Culinary Competition, held outdoors at the Marine Barracks in Washington. Each team was given a basket full of surprise ingredients. They then had 30 minutes to plan their menu before the clock started ticking on their prep time.

More than twelve teams of four rotated in and out of their makeshift kitchens, creating culinary delights within an hour and 45 minutes and presenting them to judges waiting indoors.

“As an outside kitchen judge, I’m making sure they used all their ingredients safely,” said Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Derrick D. Davenport, who won the competition last year and was also the 2015 American Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year.

“A lot of these guys have been around the competition circuit for a little bit, so they kind of know the ins and outs of getting a mystery basket,” Davenport said.

Spectators took photos as the chefs danced around their kitchens with various foods.

“Simple food, prepared well always does well in the competition," Davenport said. "You can’t critique what’s not on the plate. Sometimes you get the itch to put a lot of different components on the plate, and if you don’t execute those components perfectly, it’s going to take away from your final score.”

The winners:

First place: Navy Enlisted Aides, Team 12
Patrick Pargi, Paul Brown, Marc Scott, Adly Augustin
Received $1000, Mercer Culinary Coat, knife.

Second place: United States Coast Guard, Team 11
Received $500, Mercer Culinary Coat, knife.

Third place: OCA/USAG, Team 1
(Combination of Army Navy)
Samantha Poe, Motavia Alston, Mark Susa, Ben Stein
Received $250, Mercer Culinary Coat, knife.

Email: tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com
Twitter: @mjtibbs


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