Team Hawaii Dominates Culinary Arts Competition
8th Theater Sustainment Command - Honolulu, HI
As the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competition and Training Event (MCACTE) came to a close, Team Hawaii was crowned the Culinary Team of the Year for the third year in a row, becoming only the third team in the 42-year history of the competition to hit that mark. The annual event is the largest American Culinary Federation sanctioned competition in North America which showcases the talents of military chefs from all services and foreign military teams. This year's event included 240 competitors on 27 teams from all branches of the armed forces, including international military teams from France, Germany and Great Britain. To make it to this level, Team Hawaii selected the very best culinary specialists within all the dining facilities under USARPAC and PACOM. From there, tryouts were held to narrow the team down to 10 members, including three Soldiers from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command; Sgt. First Class Jose Alves, 728th Military Police Battalion, Spc. Micah Morris, and Pfc. Ashanti Brown, both from 84th Engineer Battalion. “It's a great feeling being recognized as the best culinary team in the armed forces after all the hard work and sacrifice our team has made,” said Pfc. Ashanti Brown, Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, “For the members of this team, and Soldiers in our field, it's a big deal to receive such an award and recognition.” Of the 27 teams competing - 16 teams faced off for Culinary Team of the Year; 15 competitors participated in the Armed Forces Student Chef of the Year; and 20 competitors battled for the coveted title of Armed Forces Senior Chef of the Year. Four countries, United States, France, United Kingdom and Germany went head to head in the international challenge, with the U.S. taking the Gold. Along with testing their skills in one of the many categories, 28 service members also vied for a spot on the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team. The USACAT is the military's national culinary team and offers members the opportunity to compete in international-level events like the Culinary Olympics in Europe, while sharpening and broadening their skills. “I believe it's the training regimen and program we have in place here in Hawaii, we have so much support from our commands which is vital for this competition,” said Sgt. First Class Jose Alves, Team Hawaii Advanced Culinary Arts Training NCOIC, when asked about Team Hawaii’s success, “The team we selected are driven to a common goal from the start. They want to better themselves, continue learning and to achieve greatness in our field.” In the end, more than 36 gold medals, 166 silver medals and 159 bronze medals were presented in front of an audience of thousands. Team Hawaii set the standard with 11 gold, 11 silver, 1 bronze, and 7 team members receiving $1500 scholarships from Stratford University. “Every time we compete we learn something new,” said Spc. Micah Morris, Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “The American Culinary Federation judges who critique our meals have decades of knowledge that we can learn from. There is always something new or different being taught, and our skills are always evolving as we continue to improve as a team.” Now that Team Hawaii has won the event for the third year in a row, the student team turns its attention to the American Culinary Federation Nationals in Orlando, FL from 9-13 July, where they will compete against the top five culinary institutes in the country, those who won their respective regional competitions. The winner of the ACF Nationals will go forward and compete in the next culinary arts Olympics, held in Frankfurt, Germany in October of 2018.