MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER BRIDGEPORT, Calif. -- Food service specialists with the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center feed the troops of their base every day. They cook, prepare and serve dishes to service members, but like many things in the Marine Corps, steel sharpens stainless steel. The MCMWTC Mess Hall staff held the Iron Chef Cooking Competition in the mess hall dining area, Feb. 19, 2014.
The competition is held every quarter to decide which Marines will advance to the Chef of the Quarter competition held at the Combat Center. The Marines were divided into teams of two, prepared a three-course meal and presented it to a panel of judges.
“This competition gives the Marines something to strive for and challenge themselves with,” said Staff Sgt. Jesse M. Ward, platoon sergeant, MCMWTC Mess Hall. “Each team is allowed to choose a dish or recipe of their choice. We always want to see challenging and new dishes from the Marines.”
Three teams competed in the Iron Chef Competition and prepared one three-course meal consisting of an appetizer, main course and a dessert dish. Chefs look forward to the competition and the chance to compete against other cooks at the Combat Center’s Chef of the Quarter Competition.
“The first couple of competitions are a little daunting, but after a while, I saw myself getting better at dealing with nerves,” said Lance Cpl. Chase Barlow, food service specialist, MCMWTC Mess Hall. “The confidence definitely builds over time.”
The Iron Chef competition’s teams were judged on how well each course of the meal was prepared and presented, taste, how well each course of the meal was prepared, and proper sanitation of their respective work stations. Barlow was partnered with another member of his section for the competition, whom he worked well with.
“As a team, we had a great team chemistry and work flow, and although the competition was close between the three teams competing, I knew we were doing well enough to win,” said Lance Cpl. John Chau, food service specialist, MCMWTC Mess Hall.
The competition has been running for years, giving the Marines who work in the mess hall an opportunity to showcase their skills. The passing of the torch from one generation to another can be seen in all parts of the Marine Corps.
“These Marines are better than me,” Ward said. “As leaders, it’s our job to make the Marines who come after us better and that’s what I see in these Marines today.”
Chau and Barlow won the competition and will be advancing to the Chef of the Quarter competition at the Combat Center scheduled for this spring.