Bernard, McManus take first in culinary competition --
Two Marines representing Mess Hall 122 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Cpl. Matthew Bernard and Lance Cpl. Austin McManus, both food service specialists with 2nd battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, used their southern cooking styles to take first place at the third quarter Culinary Team of the Quarter Competition, July 20, at Mess Hall 211 aboard the base.
“We worked hard, we practiced at home and perfected everything,” said McManus. “The first time we did it, it wasn’t outstanding and then now it came down to this – we won.”
The team’s culinary performance also earned the People’s Choice award. They wowed the audience with their unique country menu, with an entree of cheesy grits and sautéed shrimp served with a lemon-bell pepper Beurre Blanc.
For the main course they presented an oven-roasted herb-stuffed pork loin, served on a warm cabbage onion and apple slaw, drizzled with a creamy Dijon mustard sauce.
As for dessert, they served a “Heaven and Hell” cake, made of Angel and Devil’s food, layered with peanut butter gnache, frosted with chocolate butter-cream frosting, served with a strawberry puree and a shot of vanilla bean malt milkshake.
“We’re southern, we know southern food,” said Bernard. “We had the idea (we were going to win) when people kept coming back for our food three and four times.”
Coming in second place during the competition was Marine Corps Air Station New River’s “A Summer Finale” menu. Sgt. Amanda Cameron, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, and Pfc. Casey Krajenka, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, Marine Wing Support Group 27, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. teamed up to arrange a flavorful summer fruit soup, banana stuffed chicken with duo roasted potatoes and summer vegetables gratin and fresh fruit tart for dessert.
Cameron said that she enjoys competition as well as the ability to use a little more imagination in her culinary creations.
“It was a good competition, it was tight, but it was good,” said Cameron. “I like the more fine dining type of cooking rather than what we do in the chow hall,” said Cameron. “Out here, we get a little more leeway as to what we can do.”
Chief cook Tammy Byrd, winner of the first Culinary Team of the Quarter competition in 2010, is scheduled to be a food service manager and is looking forward to work with Marines like Bernard and McManus.
“It’s good to see young Marines that actually want to learn and it’s not just their job,” said Byrd. “After talking with these two Marines, (cooking) is one of their passions. I’m excited for them.”
Byrd also added that it was an unfamiliar feeling being in a mess hall while others were going head to head in competition and she was not.
“(Being here and not competing) is a little strange and you find yourself critiquing,” said Byrd. “But if you can critique, you give them advice, and it will make their experiences as cooks better.”
Like all first place winners in these quarterly competitions, Bernard and McManus’ outstanding culinary skills qualified them to compete again at the Culinary Team of the Year competition, following the fourth and final Culinary Team of the Quarter Competition slated for the fall.
“The 8th Marines cooks did an outstanding job,” said Master Sgt. Jesse Munoz, Headquarters, Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station New River. “They showed they have the culinary desire to make something out of the normal. They wanted to show what the can provide and what their talents are – they obviously did that today.”