Despite heated competition, U.S. Army chefs cook up second place
Stars and Stripes March 21, 2008
SEOUL — Take 12 U.S. Army cooks from various parts of South Korea, mix well, season with training and leave them to simmer at Fort Lee, Va., for two weeks. Voila — a perfect recipe for lobster souffle, sculpted chocolate and a second-place finish at the 33rd annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition.
Winners of the competition were announced Friday, with Team Korea losing only to Fort Carson out of 22 teams from throughout the armed forces for the title “Installation of the Year.” Although the competition was sponsored by the Army, teams from the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard also competed.
Winners were determined through a point system based on the teams’ performances during individual categories within the competition, said assistant team manager Master Sgt. Donnell Warren, 501st Sustainment Brigade.
Some of the categories included field cooking, centerpieces and a “knowledge bowl” that tested the cooks’ knowledge of cooking.
Warren said the team worked hard to prepare for the competition.
“We had a pretty high-speed team. Everything we did we practiced and we rehearsed,” he said. “They were hungry and they were ready to win.”
Among Team Korea’s star performers was Spc. Brian Lippert of 629th Medical Company. Lippert won Junior Chef of the Year for his creation of a four-course meal from a “mystery basket” of ingredients he was unaware of until the day before the competition.
“I’m a person who enjoys food and enjoys the creation of it,” said Lippert, who added that he’s been cooking since he was 14 years old.
He said winning the competition, which is accredited by the American Culinary Federation, would help his future career as a chef.
Other strong categories for Team Korea included the “Nutritional Hot Food Challenge” and “Cold Buffet Platters.”
How Team Korea stacked up in the competition
Installation of the Year — second placeNutritional Hot Food Challenge — first placeField Cooking — Silver MedalJunior Chef of the Year, Gold Medal — Spc. Brian Lippert, 629th Medical CompanySenior Chef of the Year, Bronze Medal — Pfc. Robert Capazzi, 629th Medical CompanyBest Exhibit in Show, Cold Buffet Platters — Pvt. Juan Munoz, 249th Military Police Detachment
From staff reports