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Military Culinary Arts Competition

JBLM cooks bring home bacon

Service members win 17 individual medals

Published: 02:05PM April 10th, 2014

Joint Base Lewis-McChord brought home the bacon from last month’s Military Culinary Arts Competition. They also came away with new knowledge that directly benefits service members on base.

Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Yarbrough of I Corps and her team of 11 service members took home 17 individual medals from the annual contest, picking up silver and bronze in categories like field hot plate, seafood and desserts.

“Everybody was trying to get gold, but you can never predict this kind of competitive training event,” Yarbrough said.

The weeklong contest at Fort Lee, Va., brought together teams from installations across the U.S. Armed Forces to be judged by chefs from the American Culinary Federation. Many teams came from only one military branch, but there also were joint-base teams like JBLM’s, said Senior Airman Janaya R. Mosley, 627th Force Support Squadron.

Mosley said that though everyone was nice, the teams from joint bases reached out to each other. When one team was out of an ingredient, for instance, Mosley knew that she could look to another joint-base team for help, and vice versa.

Mosley earned a silver medal for her petit fours, a French-style dessert. She said it was her first competition, but the experience already has her looking at her own pastries at her dining facility on McChord Field.

“Being there, with a lot of things going on, it was hard to just stay focused and make sure you get done (with) your specific task,” Mosley said. “One of my favorite things to do was look around at the other people’s work.”

Yarbrough, who has competed the past nine years, said it was the first year the Army compressed the event from two weeks to one. There was no time to waste when it came to food prep and presentation, she said. Sleep was hard to come by.

“It’s nothing new for me, but for the Soldiers with me, it’s kinda tough because they haven’t been in that kind of environment,” Yarbrough said.

The 12-member team had many first-time competitors, Yarbrough said. There wasn’t time to look things up or practice.

Despite that, Yarbrough said the team was mature and worked very well together, including between the “green-suiters and the blue-suiters.”

“You have to have the mentality to excel at what you’re doing,” Yarbrough said. “I can only do so much.”

What Yarbrough really can do will be put to the test two years from now. She’ll be part of the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team at the 24th Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellun — the “culinary Olympics,” according to the ACF.

Even so, Yarbrough and Mosley said it won’t be their last military culinary competition.

“I want to expand on my petit fours,” Mosley said. “Hopefully I’ll get a gold next year!”

Medal Count
• Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth J. Yarbrough: silver, bronze (Armed Forces Chef of the Year)

• Sgt. Valine M. Doucette: silver, bronze

• Sgt. Chantha Roeun: two silver

• Sgt. Carlos A. Bautista: silver

• Sgt. Bernardo Rios: three silver

• Sgt. Brandon L. Chateau

• Senior Airman Janaya R. Mosley: silver (student)

• Senior Airman Jabari S. Superville: bronze (student)

• Spc. Xochilt Fox: two silver

• Spc. Beverly Delk: bronze (Student Chef of the Year)

• Spc. Harvey Allen

• Spc. Nashanti Jones: silver (student)