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JBER recipe for food-service success, ‘Joint Culinary Institute’

By Airman 1st Class Crystal A. Jenkins | JBER Public Affairs | Nov. 7, 2018


JCI is a new bi-monthly, two-week course, providing 10 food-service members from any military branch an opportunity to experience in-depth courses relating to the profession.

“The classes we have put together are designed to improve the skills students already have and deepen their understanding of what their mission is,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Durrell Davis, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment senior food-service specialist, culinary team manager and Joint Culinary Institute instructor. “You definitely have to come with a motivated attitude. The comprehensive curriculum is taught at a fast tempo. For the participant it is demanding, but also very rewarding.”

Lessons are geared towards food knowledge, and start with students relearning the basics on day one. Within the first few days they begin learning about various types of meat, wild and domestic, in addition to learning about special cuts and knife sharpening. By the beginning of week two, participants work on meal planning, dessert and food preparation. 

On Nov. 6, more than 30 personnel attended the JCI grand opening luncheon at the Gold Rush Inn. This tasting is just the start of many to come, mentioned Davis.

The menu was a collective decision by the 10 service members participating, and included orange tarragon salad with honey, creamy butternut squash bisque, chicken Marsala with green peas and a sweet potato, followed by tres leche cake – All made from scratch.

“We have seen a lot of positive feedback from the individuals who have been able to go through similar internships last year and be a part of ‘Team Alaska’ in past Joint Culinary Training Exercise’s at Fort Lee, Virginia,” Davis said. “They said they felt like they had gained more from getting in-depth instruction coupled by giving them the ability to be free from the normal daily grind.”

By receiving this type of training, troops can increase the quality of food and customer service at both dining facilities.

“This training is a great example of how different military branches can work together towards a common goal,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jose Santana-Medina, 673d FSS food service specialist. We wear different uniforms but our missions are the same, and it’s clear that we are all a part of the same team.”

Service members interested in participating must submit a request through their chain of command and wait for a slot to open up.

“JCI is designed to primarily build on the overall skillset needed to operate a fine-dining service which is different than your regular dining facility,” Davis said. “Once their training is complete, they will present what they have learned to leadership through a special invite-only luncheon at the end of the two weeks. Of course, the main goal is for them to take the new skills they’ve acquired back to their dining facility.”

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