By MC2 Justin A. Johndro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors, Marines and Soldiers assigned around the Puget Sound region competed in the Northwest’s Armed Forces Iron Chef competition at Olympic College’s Bremer Student Lounge May 10.
Culinary Specialists (CS) assigned to Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), Naval Station Everett (NSE), Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), USS Alabama (SSBN 731), the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Naval Hospital Bremerton, Marines assigned to Marine Corps Security Force Battalion-Bangor (McSFBN) and Soldiers from Joint Based Lewis-McChord (JBLM) competed in the event.
Each command had teams of culinary specialists competing in seven different culinary categories: cakes, chicken wings, chili, dessert pies, garnishments, hors d’oeuvres, and a main event.
The main event was an Iron Chef-style competition, which consisted of a team of two culinary specialists. Each team had a 60-minute time limit to complete four culinary dishes with three secret ingredients: calamari, Southwest chipotle spice and mango. This category was judged on sanitation, safety, presentation, originality, and flavor.
First place was awarded to the team of CS1 (SS) Michael Grey and CS2 (SS) Larry Hoogstraten, assigned to NBK.
“What we did was a Mediterranean-trio of three products on one plate,” said Grey. “We had a beet salad, gazpacho which is a cold soup or salsa, and ceviche. And to serve with that, we had a strawberry-raspberry-mango smoothie. We only needed to use two of the three secret ingredients, but used all of them because we had a great plan with what we wanted to do coming into today.”
“I did this last year and finished in 3rd place,” said Hoogstraten. “We overcame the secret ingredients, put together a great product and I’m glad the judges enjoyed our plate.”
The competition was part of the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce’s 66th Annual Armed Forces Festival.
Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent was in attendance and was a judge for this event.
“It looked lovely,” Lent said of NBK’s first place dish. “Very nice presentation, I couldn’t wait for them to describe their plate. I was a judge last year and this event is growing throughout the community.”
The Navy currently has more than 7,000 culinary specialists deployed around the globe. They feed, on average, more than 92 million wholesome and nutritious meals per year, ensuring the Navy’s fighting forces operate at peak performance and are ready to respond to threats worldwide.