MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Food service Marines and civilian chefs put their culinary skills to the
test during the Chef of the Quarter competition at the Wallace Creek
Mess Hall on Marine Corps Base, Oct. 20.
During the bi-annual event, four teams from various mess halls vied for
the coveted title. In preparation for the event, teams prepared recipes
under the premise of a small catering company, throwing a party for a
"We bring the civilian side of our community and the military side to
show that we can do this together," said Wade Smith, Camp Geiger mess
hall lead production manager. "We do that every day, but (in this event)
we can showcase our cooks and their abilities."
Competitors presented their dishes to the judges, to sell themselves as
the best choice for the simulated catering job. After judging, each team
served 40 portions for hungry attendees, hoping to win their vote for
an additional award.
"Typically they have four hours to prepare the three or four course meal
they provided, so their day is coming in and starting from scratch for
that menu," said David McElhinney, Wallace Creek mess hall general
manager. "Then they present it to (the judges) and for the People’s
Choice Award. It’s a pretty action-packed, fast day for them."
Although the teams were competing against one another, they learned from their dishes and each other.
"I like the camaraderie; both Marines and civilians with food service
are up for the challenge," said Smith. "Once you challenge food service,
they put forth their best effort in a challenge outside of the box. It
brings the best out of everyone on both sides."