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‘Team Alaska’ prepares for culinary competition

By Airman 1st Class Caitlin Russell | 673d ABW Public Affairs | March 5, 2018


A 12-member joint culinary team composed of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright food-service professionals are preparing for the upcoming Joint Culinary Training Exercise at Fort Lee, Virginia, March 10 to 15, 2018.

The purpose of the JCTE is to promote culinary professionalism and development. The competition recognizes individual and team efforts, while paying attention to nutrition, workmanship, presentation, concepts, and creativity.

“Team Alaska” is scheduled to compete each day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Maclaughlin Fitness Center on Fort Lee, Virginia. The exercise will consist of live cooking competitions, nutrition, hot food challenges, food displays, live demonstrations and other various activities. 

“The team primarily consists of junior enlisted personnel and is led by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Meyers, the JCTE team captain,” said Stephen Conner, 673d Force Support Squadron food service specialist. “Members were selected for the joint culinary team through competitions and performing exemplary cooking techniques.”

The team has been training since January, preparing Monday through Friday, for approximately six hours a day.

They practiced various cooking skills, food preparation techniques and prepared for each individual events. Members have the chance to win silver, bronze or gold medals in each respective category; there are also competitions for armed forces chef of the year and armed forces student chef of the year.

“The main challenge for the team was adapting to the new rules for the competition,” Meyers said. “We received the rules behind schedule and had to establish a new game plan. However, the team pulled it together and we were able to adjust to the changes.”

“My personal goal is to win Culinary Team of the Year award, and I believe each team member is hoping to win gold in their category,” Meyers said.

Aside from winning awards, Meyers said he hopes each member leaves with a good experience.

 “From the very first day, the team melded together really well,” Meyers said. “Together we’ve learned the competition is about more than just cooking.”

For more information, call 804-734-3106 or visit www.facebook.com/army.culinary.