Dining halls face off in top chef competition

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 55th Force Support Squadron Sustainment Flight hosted a top chef competition May 31, 2018, at the King dining facility at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

The contestants set aside the regular menu list and developed their own meal plans and plating methods for the judges. The competitors received three kinds of meats, four different vegetables, three assorted fruits and a basket of secret ingredients: bacon, mushroom and kiwi. Each team was given twenty minutes to create an appetizer and thirty minutes for each entrée or dessert.

“This event gives our Airmen the opportunity to showcase their culinary skills and apply that knowledge in a fun but challenging situation,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Berish, 55th FSS Sustainment Flight food service supervisor. “It also promotes teamwork and enables the individuals to practice giving direction as future leaders.”  

The Campisi alert dining facility and King dining facility each sent a team of three Airmen to compete. The two teams, Islanders and Griffindor, were judged by Col. John Norton, 55th Mission Support Group commander, Lt. Col. Monique Graham, 55th FSS commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Hoderedge, 55th MSG superintendent.  

Airman Aminah Griffin, 55th FSS Sustainment Flight food service apprentice and leader of team Griffindor, did not let her young age or lower rank keep her from taking charge of the team. The challenges of preparing and presenting the dishes before the judges within a confined time limit and integrating the ingredients from the mystery basket did not keep her team from winning the competition and earning the traveling trophy and a day off from work.

“I got the opportunity to show that even as the lower ranking member of my team,” said Griffin, “as well as in the dining facility, that I was still able to guide and show good communication.”

The judges assessed the Airmen and the meals to decide the winner.

Team Griffindor prepared chicken and potato nachos with a pineapple and corn salsa, bacon wrapped steak with Cajun shrimp over a bed of sautéed vegetables and a banana muffin with an apple cinnamon filling for desert.

Team Islander served up shrimp kabobs, jerk chicken and grilled steak smothered with apples and oranges for the entrée, and grilled pineapple covered with caramelized apples and brown sugar for their dessert.

“Our Airmen take great pride in providing quality food and professional customer service, they are continually perfecting their craft and this competition was an opportunity for them to showcase their culinary skills and abilities,” said Lieutenant Colonel Monique Graham 55th FSS commander. “I am proud of our Airmen and what they do every day to support the mission, not a day goes by that I haven't been taken aback by their talent!”