Soldiers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment were featured in an episode of MasterChef, which aired June 9 on FOX.
Twenty contestants from the show participated in the season’s first team challenge – to feed 500 Soldiers, the largest number of diners the show has fed.
Prior to the teams seeing the field kitchen, they were convoyed through the National Training Center’s combat training area where Blackhorse troopers defended the contestants from improvised explosive devices and insurgents attacking from all directions.
After the training lane, the two teams created separate meals for the Soldiers – grilled pork chops and barbecued chicken breast.
“The teams were relatively fast in their production, especially when you consider the pressure and disorientation which they had gone through,” said Spc. Zachary Tredo, a training room clerk for B Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th ACR. “I went to culinary school before joining the military and could relate to the pressure they were feeling from the time crunch.”
When the time limit was reached, dozens of tanks, a couple of helicopters, and 500 Soldiers swarmed the cooking area in preparation for the meal to come.
“When everyone was converging on the contestants, it was overwhelming,” said Spc. Harold Braynon, a communications specialist with B Troop, 1/11 ACR. “The detailed planning and execution was interesting to watch.”
To select the winner of the challenge, Soldiers formed up in front of the team they preferred.
“When I gave the command to fall-in, several Soldiers rushed to my side of the field,” said Staff Sgt. Casey Mobley, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of blue team. “Even though the red team won in the end, I still had a fun time and believe that the blue team did better.”
FOX Broadcasting Company worked with Fort Irwin for this event and the “FOX in the Box” Thanksgiving event last year in support of the military and in an effort to boost morale.
“Blackhorse provided a majority of the Soldiers for the dining and voting portion of the challenge as well as providing the operational environment for the shoot,” said Col. John Ward, commander of the 11th ACR. “I believe that the Soldiers were excited that the show recognized their efforts and contributions as we serve at this isolated installation.”