Competition Inspires Teamwork

341st Missile Wing Public Affairs - Malmstrom Air Force Base, MT

Three teams of three individuals competed in the Warrior Chef Competition Feb. 24 at the Grizzly Bend for the title of “Top Chef.” Competitors were given 90 minutes to prepare dishes from scratch with ingredients commonly found at missile alert facilities, as well as habaneros which were the added secret ingredient revealed at the start of the competition. “I had never heard of this event before,” said Master Sgt. Ruth Salender, 341st Operations Group first sergeant. “As a new member of the Malmstrom first sergeant team, I thought it would be a good way for me to get to know a few of the other first sergeants and build (a bond) between us.” Salender teamed up with Master Sgt. Jason Whitehead, 341st Medical Group first sergeant and Master Sgt. Joseph Derevage, 341st Munitions Squadron first sergeant. “We came up with the team name ‘Soupa Diamonds,’ inspired by an internet search,” said Salender. “We decided on our dishes pretty quickly when we saw what was provided; imitation crab meat and andouille sausage.” The Soupa Diamonds, came up with the idea to make crab dip, jambalaya and habanero-spiked cornbread. “Competitors are judged on the taste, texture, creativity, and if they honored the theme ingredients and presentation,” said Master Sgt. Rachel Corrales, 341st Force Support Squadron food service section chief. According to Corrales, the purpose of the competition is to bring military members together and foster creativity under pressure. “Don’t ever be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone,” Salender said. “Like anything in life, the thought of a secret ingredient being thrown into the mix can be a little daunting, but the end result may be surprising.” The Soupa Diamonds placed second in the competition. “(The competition) was so much fun,” Salender said. “I am lucky that we synced as a team very quickly, established division of labor and rocked it.” According to Corrales, the competition would not have been a success without the help of volunteers, the Great Falls community agencies and sponsors. “(Next quarter) we would like to see other units on base compete (for the title of ‘Top Chef’),” Corrales said.

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