July 26, 2012

Station chefs savor culinary school lessons

Story and photos by Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison
Desert Warrior Staff
Cpl. Brandyn Drew, a food service specialist and a native of Loxahatchee, Fla., prepares a lunch item for hungry Marines at the station galley, July 24. Drew, with other service members, attended the Culinary Institute of America for a five-week cooking course meant to sharpen his skills in the kitchen.

It’s commonplace for Marines to further their education within their primary military occupational specialties. What isn’t common is when training is in New York alongside accomplished chefs.

Every year, the Culinary Institute of America, a highly accredited culinary college, accepts Marines and other service members into a consolidated cooking program meant to increase the chefs’ abilities in the kitchen.

MCAS Yuma’s two most recent attendees are food service specialists Cpl. Brandyn Drew, a native of Loxahatchee, Fla., and Lance Cpl. Dara Smith, a native of Sacramento, Calif.

Drew and Smith traveled to Hyde Park, N.Y., for five weeks to expand their cooking repertoire.

“The basic food service Marine needed a bit more tweaking,” said Sgt. Garry Pounder, a food service specialist and a native of Memphis, Tenn.

Pounder explained that for a while, the Marine Corps was the only branch of service to not have a liaison with the Institute, though Marine general’s aides would attend classes. Pounder himself attended classes in 2007, part of the second class open to the Fleet Marine Force.

Lance Cpl. Dara Smith, a food service specialist and a native of Sacramento, Calif., prepares a lunch item for hungry Marines at the station galley, July 24. Smith, with other service members, attended the Culinary Institute of America for a five-week cooking course meant to sharpen her skills in the kitchen.

Marines who attend the Institute are selected based on Chef of the Quarter competitions. Typically, food service specialists adhere to a strict menu. During these competitions the individual cooks can really shine.

“We didn’t place,” said Drew, regarding the competition deciding who would go to the school. “But they said we did a good job and chose us to go to the CIA.”

From there, Drew and Smith embarked on a five-week course where the Marines practiced knife skills, learned about soup stock and sauces (“There’s a lot,” said Smith with a laugh), learned different cooking principles, figured out how to put what side dishes and compliments to which meals and plate displays as well as how the food is presented.

The Marines started out cooking in groups, then teams and, finally, as individuals. The final meal involved three courses: a soup, a salad and an entrée, which had to include a starch, vegetable and main meat.

Drew and Smith developed their own nuanced techniques for how to best serve the judges, who were comprised of chefs teaching at the school.

For full story, visit Yuma.usmc.mil

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.



Sterling Global Operations completes U.S. Navy project to clear munitions, firing range and target debris from Arizona Marine Corps Air Station range

Sterling Global Operations, Inc., in a two-year project for the U.S. Navy, removed or recycled some 5.9 million pounds of munitions, firing range and target debris from Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Ariz. Sterling Global re...

US Army, Raytheon achieve first inflight lethal intercept of low quadrant elevation rocket

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. – Raytheon successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107mm rocket as part of the second series of guided test vehicle flight tests of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program. The intercept is a major test milestone before the U.S. Army live-fire engagements begin in September. “Beginning only 18 months...

Raytheon, U.S. Army complete first AI3 guided flight test series

Raytheon and the U.S. Army successfully completed the first guided test vehicle flight series of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program at Yuma Proving Ground, Aris. The series consisted of two flight tests against different target profiles. In each case after launch, the interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the fire...


New Navy vessel named after Yuma

The U.S. Navy has decided to name one of their newest Joint High-Speed Vessels after the city of Yuma, Ariz., forming an even deeper bond between the local community and our military. Political officials from the state of Arizona and the city of Yuma were informed of the decision by the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary...

Joint Strike Fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program — the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history — is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be...

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ‘closes capability gap,’ Army says

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there’s a “capability gap” in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacem...


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>