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Bob Rice, the National Restaurant Association's civilian evaluator for the Maj. Gen. W. P. T. Hill Food Service Excellence Award, examines the appearance of the dining area in the Lance Cpl. Chance R. Phelps Mess Hall Dec. 16.

Photo by Pvt. Michael T. Gams

Phelps Hall competes for top honors

21 Dec 2009 | Pvt. Michael T. Gams

The Lance Cpl. Chance R. Phelps Mess Hall was inspected Wednesday by a two-man team to determine if it was the best mess hall in the Marine Corps.

The team, comprised of one Marine and one civilian, inspected the facility for the Fiscal Year 2010 Maj. Gen. W. P. T. Hill Food Service Excellence Award, which determines the best mess hall in three categories – civilian-run, mixed and field mess halls.

Phelps Hall is a mixed facility, with Marines preparing the food and civilians interacting with the costumers. It won the Best of the West in September to qualify for the W. P. T. Hill Award.

The prestigious award goes to the dining facility which exhibits the best cleanliness, food quality, training, sanitation and overall quality, said Bob Rice, the civilian evaluator with the National Restaurant Association.

“We check for everything,” he said. “From the appearance of the exterior to the cleanliness of prep surfaces – it truly is a comprehensive evaluation.”

The evaluators came during the Phelps Hall’s holiday meal in which roast beef, baked turkey and glazed ham was featured, said Gunnery Sgt. Mark Clontz, the operations chief of the food service branch.

“It’s a tough meal with a lot of moving parts,” said the London, Ky., native. “I think we’re looking good to win this. We’ve got a fine group of Marines here and I think it’s showing.”

Clontz said the award would be important to win because it is a mark of distinction and is something the Marines can take personal pride in.

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