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Marines enjoy hot dogs during a visit from chefs George Kapetsonis and Romulo Partido to the Littleton mess hall, Dec. 2, 2014. These chefs came to the Combat Center as part of Sodexo’s food initiative. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

Chefs pay visit to Combat Center mess hall

2 Dec 2014 | Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

“The chefs are visiting to bring more variety to the mess hall, so the Marines can experience different culinary styles,” said Sgt. Jose A. Rojas, quality assurance evaluator, Headquarters Battalion. “It’s something new for them to see, and it also provides them an opportunity to find out about the restaurants that come and support the military.”

This is the first of many events Sodexo hopes to conduct with outside food vendors. The hope is that events like these will provide a change of pace for Marines who frequent the chow hall. The mess halls run on a 21 day cycle. While these meals are nutritious, the cycle can get repetitive.

“I think it motivates Marines when they have the civilian chefs come in and teach them about all different types of food,” Rojas said. “They’ll embrace the need for knowledge, trying new culinary techniques and improving themselves in their careers.”

Events like this not only benefit the Marines who work at the mess hall, but the Sodexo employees. Through affiliation with outside sources, Sodexo employees receive an opportunity to learn how to provide different meals to Combat Center service members.

“We want to extend the business relationship and provide different things for the troops to eat,” said Kapetsonis. “In the future, we are looking for people who get out of the military and are interested in the cooking profession. At that point, we can build a relationship and bring them on.”

Sodexo plans to bring in civilian chefs periodically to share techniques with food service specialist.

“I think it’s great to instill a little bit of excitement in people,” said Kapetsonis. “Food is a very basic platform that everybody has in common, to come here and give these guys something new or a change of atmosphere is good for them.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms