Chef of the Quarter Cooks Up Anniversary Dishes
Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, NC
The mouth-watering aroma of sizzling steaks, cooked chicken and other exquisite treats filled the chow hall during the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron’s Chef of the Quarter competition, Aug. 18. Three food service specialists sliced and diced their way in the quarterly competition to be named the best food service specialist aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point for the last quarter of the fiscal year. “The food service specialists are critiqued on the taste of their food, plate display, table appearance and culinary knowledge,” said Staff Sgt. Kelvin Tapia, the galley captain for the chow hall. The competition had a general theme of anniversaries, with which the competitors could create his or her own theme with. The themes chosen to present to the judges were a wedding/anniversary reception, women's rights and artistry. Meals were prepared the night prior to be ready for judging at 9:30 a.m. the day of the competition. “We give them left and right lateral limits to force them to think outside the box,” said Tapia. “We want to test them in areas of the culinary arts that they are not entirely familiar with.” The table displays alone accounted for 20 percent of a competitor’s overall score. “It was definitely a little scary for me,” said Cpl. Marisela Olibares, a food service specialist and the winner of the competition. “I was up against two sergeants and felt a lot of pressure.” To win the competition, Olibares’ wedding-themed three course meal began with fruit salad as the appetizer. The entrée was a flank steak with provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto cheese, bacon, basil, and dry tomatoes. Sides for the entrée were sautéed asparagus with butter and garlic and mashed potatoes topped with sour cream, butter, garlic, and bacon. Following her main course, the dessert she made for the judges was flan, [a sweetened egg custard with a caramel topping that can also contain a variety of fillings]. To accompany the tasty food, Olibares served pink lemonade to drink. For being the winner, Olibares received a formal acknowledgement for noteworthy performance and chance to compete against the previous Chef of the Quarter winners in September during the Chef of the Year competition. “It means a lot for me to win,” said Olibares. “I gave 110 percent to this competition and I know I need to bring even more than that to become the Chef of the Year.” The winners of the four quarterly competitions will compete in September for the title of Chef of the Year. The victor will receive a Navy Achievement Medal and attend a culinary arts school in New York City for two weeks.