Getting Personal: Spinning meals, chef takes off
January 4, 2006
Airman 1st Class Thomas Russell is a 23-year-old Colorado native who recently was named the Chef of the Quarter at the dining facility at RAF Mildenhall. The two-year Air Force veteran is a jack-of-all-trades in the kitchen as he helps prepare meals for hundreds of airmen each day.
Why did you join the Air Force?
My father was in the Army and I really like the military life. You can’t beat it for the benefits.
What do you want to do long-term?
I would like to make a career out of the Air Force, but I am also about to start school at the University of Maryland. The more education I can get, the better.
Did you want to be a chef when you entered the Air Force?
I came in as an open slot and was put in services. But it’s a good career, and I am happy with it.
How did you win best chef?
There was voting. I didn’t vote for myself but a lot of other people did. Honestly, I guess I just work hard, but I think everyone around here is doing their fair share.
How has this facility won best in USAFE two years in a row?
We take a lot of pride in what we do because we are here to take care of the airmen. To know that you are doing a good job and that other people recognize it makes you feel good.
What is your favorite food to cook?
I love to cook steak. It is very easy to cook, but depending on how you marinate it and prepare it, it can come out very differently.
Do you have a special marinate that you use to make your steaks unique?
That’s a secret.
What is your least favorite thing to cook?
Mashed potatoes, but that’s because I had a bad experience with them when I was younger. I don’t like to be around them at all.
A bad experience with mashed potatoes?
A woman who used to cook at one of the bases would sculpt the mashed potatoes into things, buildings, people, all kinds of stuff. She used to take the parts off the people, and it would gross me out.
Do you cook at home?
I usually eat here. I rarely cook at home.
Do you have a special lady friend who you cook for?
I do have a special lady friend, but she cooks for me.