We all know how challenging it can be to put together a family meal in our own kitchens, stocked by our own hands. Imagine putting together a three-course meal in a limited time period based solely on the unknown contents of a basket handed to you in an unfamiliar kitchen.
Corporal Melissa Miller, a chief cook from 19 Maintenance Support Section at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia; Leading Seaman Dustin Vickers, a cook from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax, Nova Scotia; and cook Corporal Jordan Hoare, from Canadian Special Operations Forces Command-Canadian Special Operations Training Centre, did just that, competing in the US Army 43rd Annual Joint Culinary Training Exercise (JCTE) held from March 9 to 15, 2018, in Fort Lee, Virginia.
And brought home the silver medal.
The three were supported by team manager Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Dalling, of Director Personnel Generation Requirements in Ottawa, Ontario; and pre-training coaches Warrant Officer Chiu Tsang, a chief cook with 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Edmonton, Alberta, and Sergeant Jean Louis Lassonde, from Canadian Forces Logistics Training Centre at CFB Borden, Ontario.
The two Royal Canadian Air Force and one Royal Canadian Navy cooks competed against cooks from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. This year’s exercise showcased the talents of 237 military chefs from all military services around the globe.
“It’s an honor and privilege to speak to you today,” said Lieutenant General Aundre F. Piggee, Headquarters Department of the Army, deputy chief of staff, G4, Pentagon, D.C., at the opening of the awards ceremony. “I wish I could have spent more time [at JCTE]; I looked online and my mouth was watering.
“I applaud your competition,” he added. “You all are winners by just participating; you now are better as individuals, and will take back your knowledge and make your organizations better. It is great to see all the services and our coalition partners. Nothing we do on the battlefield is alone; we do it together.”
Competing chefs were judged based on American Culinary Federation guidelines; they were not competing against each other but against industry standards. Those who exceeded industry standards were given medals – 56 gold medals, 135 silver medals and 141 bronze medals were presented to military chefs who met the judging criteria.
The exercise, administered by the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, is the largest U.S. Culinary Federation-sanctioned competition in North America.
With files from Dani Johnson, Combined Arms Support Command Public Affairs, Fort Lee, Virginia.
Source: Royal Canadian Air Force