Sailors assigned to commands in Navy Region Northwest participated in the 21st Annual Armed Forces Culinary Arts Competition at the Olympic College Student Center, May 11.
The Iron Chef style competition was open to the public and featured Navy culinary specialists competing for top honors in several culinary specialties.
“This is a great event and the competition was intense, said Capt. Pete Dawson, Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer.
“I am always amazed at the dedication of the culinary specialists in our Navy,” said Dawson. “They are truly artists … and they really do make the difference in the Navy for morale.”
Eight different Navy commands participated in the competition: NBK, Naval Station Everett (NSE), Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Naval Hospital Bremerton, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis CVN 74), and the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines USS Nebraska (SSBN 733) Gold crew, USS Maine (SSBN 741) Gold crew, and USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) Blue crew.
Each command had teams of culinary specialists competing in seven different culinary categories: cakes, chicken wings, chili, dessert pies, garnishments, hors d’oeuvres, and a main event.
The main event was an Iron Chef style competition, which consisted of a team of two culinary specialists. Each team had a 60-minute time limit to complete four culinary dishes with three secret ingredients: tofu, peanut butter, and ginger root. This category was judged on sanitation, safety, presentation, originality, and flavor.
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Larry Hoogstraten, assigned to Naval Base Kitsap Galley, competed in the Iron Chef style competition for the first time with his teammate Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Hall.
“I thought it was fun to see everyone else’s, what they were doing because we all get the same ingredients,” said Hoogstraten. “I thought was really interesting. It was just fun to see everyone’s view of what we were given and what they came up with.”
By watching the other sailors in the crowded kitchen, it provided Hoogstraten with ideas that he could take back with him to the galley on NBK.
“I think you can always incorporate things you learn along the way like presentation, and what tastes compliment others,” said Hoogstraten. “Cooking is always an ongoing learning process. It has me more interested in doing more competitions in the future.”
The competition was part of the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce 65th Annual Armed Forces Festival.
“This gets better every single year,” said Patty Lent, mayor of Bremerton and Iron Chef competition judge.
Louisiana won 1st place in the Iron Chef style competition with the two teams from Naval Base Kitsap winning both 2nd and 3rd place. Naval Base Kitsap won a total of 10 awards, with Louisiana winning five, NASWI and NHB winning two, and Maine and NSE with one each.
The Navy’s more than 7,000 culinary specialists, deployed around the globe, feed an average of 92 million wholesome and nutritious meals per year, ensuring the Navy’s fighting forces operate at peak performance and are ready to respond to threats worldwide.