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Chef Bruce Mattel of the Culinary Institute of America shows an audience of sailors and family members how to tell when chicken breasts are ready to turn over during a demonstration Wednesday at the Navy Club on Yongsan Garrison.

Chef Bruce Mattel of the Culinary Institute of America shows an audience of sailors and family members how to tell when chicken breasts are ready to turn over during a demonstration Wednesday at the Navy Club on Yongsan Garrison. (Jimmy Norris / S&S)

Chef Bruce Mattel of the Culinary Institute of America shows an audience of sailors and family members how to tell when chicken breasts are ready to turn over during a demonstration Wednesday at the Navy Club on Yongsan Garrison.

Chef Bruce Mattel of the Culinary Institute of America shows an audience of sailors and family members how to tell when chicken breasts are ready to turn over during a demonstration Wednesday at the Navy Club on Yongsan Garrison. (Jimmy Norris / S&S)

Mattel flips a pan full of shitake mushrooms during a demonstration Wednesday at the Navy Club at Yongsan Garrison.

Mattel flips a pan full of shitake mushrooms during a demonstration Wednesday at the Navy Club at Yongsan Garrison. (Jimmy Norris / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Sailors in the Yongsan area took a break from their offices Wednesday to get a few cooking tips and a free meal from the CIA and the NRA.

Chefs — not spies or gun lobbyists — from the Culinary Institute of America and the National Restaurant Association performed cooking demonstrations for sailors and their families Wednesday.

Event coordinator Larry Lopez, director of the CIA’s international program, said the demonstrations were part of a series of opportunities for sailors, Marines and Navy Club staff to improve their cooking skills.

The chefs also held classes for Navy and MWR cooks at Chinhae Naval Base and Seoul.

The demonstrations, titled "Gourmet Meals in Minutes" and "Casual Cooking for Young Adults," were aimed at showing sailors and their families cooking options that fit realistically into a military lifestyle, said Morale, Welfare and Recreation regional director Paul Savarese.

"The idea was what can you get from the commissary and [cook] on this little burner you have in your room," Savarese said.

Lopez said the weeklong trip was also a chance for CIA chefs to expand their own skills by touring Korean restaurants and learning about local food culture.

Sailors who attended the morning demonstration said watching the chefs was an enjoyable experience.

"I came here to see how food like this was cooked first-hand," said Seaman Apprentice Seth Sebastian, of Commander Naval Forces Korea. He said he became interested in cooking by watching cooking shows on TV. "I think this is a little better, because I’m watching it in person instead of seeing it on television."


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