More than a dozen culinary specialists savored the chance to bring their favorite recipes to the judging table during a first-ever NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego soup competition held Oct. 24 in San Diego.
The cook-off style competition, hosted by the command's Navy Food Management Team (NFMT), brought waterfront Sailors together to showcase their most cherished low-sodium recipes while competing for prizes.
"Each Sailor had a chance to present their soup entry in front of a panel of three judges, mirroring practices in the commercial industry," said CWO Eugene Chestnutt, NFMT lead analyst. "We want these Sailors to not only be able to take pride in their scratch-cooking skills, but also follow American Culinary Federation practices that will help them earn professional certifications outside of the Navy."
CWO Chestnutt, Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Mosher, and a professional civilian chef served as panelists for the event. Entries were judged on an aggregate 100 point scale, with four main elements taken into consideration: presentation/creativity, taste/texture, originality, and sodium quantity.
The first place winner was CS2(SW) Joshua Vickers of USS Peleliu (LHA 5), with his 94-point rendition of Soto Ayam, a traditional Indonesian dish. CS1(SW/AW) Joe Mattia of Naval Base San Diego claimed second place with a 93-point loaded Tuscan soup. Third place was awarded to CS2(SW) Franklin Tercenio of USS Makin Island (LHD 8) for his 89-point Texas tortilla soup.
"All of our contestants used ingredients that are readily available aboard ship and demonstrated ways ingredients could be manipulated or substituted if necessary," CWO Chestnutt said. "Every soup entered into the contest had to have the potential to be part of a future standard core menu."
Each winner received a commemorative plaque, culinary expertise medal, command coin and Navy Exchange gift card. Winning entries will also be submitted to Navy Type Commands for consideration for the next Navy Standard Core Menu refresh, slated for fall 2014.
"Our Culinary Specialists really do contribute a lot to our Navy," said CSCS(SW/AW) Sherwin Penaranda, a NFMT trainer and analyst. "What our cooks create in the galleys has a direct impact on the morale and readiness of our Sailors.”
“There's a lot of hard work that goes into bringing tasty, nutritional meals onto our mess decks in every corner of the globe,” he explained. “Competitions and recognition like this acknowledge that and give these experts a chance to shine."
By Candice Villarreal, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego Public Affairs