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101st Soldiers receive awards in Culinary Arts Competition

 

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionFort Campbell, KY – The first time at any competition makes for a nervous and trying outing.  Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Wisniewski remembers the emotions well as he remembers his first competition.

“I thought it was cool to be at a culinary competition,” said the 12-year Soldier, “yet I was a little nervous about my skills and whether I was going to be able to compete at that level.”

That’s what the first time contestants from Fort Campbell felt at the Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, VA. The CAC, held for the 36th time, is hosted by the U.S. Army Quartermaster School’s Joint Culinary Center of Excellence.  It attracts more than 200 military members from all branches of the Armed Forces, aiming to increase culinary skills and ultimately, military food service.

Spc. Orlando Nixon during Chef cook off.

Spc. Orlando Nixon during Chef cook off.

Moreover, it has proven to be a momentous and eye-opening experience for the rookie contestants, including a young Soldier named Wisniewski.

“I felt a great sense of accomplishment,” he said about his first time at the competition. “It made me feel better about Army food service and what I could learn.”

Wisniewski felt strongly enough about his rookie year at the Culinary Arts Competition that he put together a team that is comprised entirely of first-timers from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell. 

Nine inexperienced Soldiers under the guidance of Wisniewski began training January 4th, in preparation for the Department of the Army 36th Annual Culinary Arts competition held at

Fort Lee, VA. The competition was held during the period of February 26th through March 13th, 2011.

The competition consisted of 251 Active duty and Reserve Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps competitors from 20 bases around the world. There were 788 entries and 547 medals awarded. 

The  Team Members Were: 

  • CW3 Joseph Wisniewski, Echo Company,101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Staff Sgt. Solomon Stevenson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Sgt. John Stephan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company,101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Spc. Orlando Nixon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Pfc. Rachel Duran-Jenson, Headquarters Support Company, 96th Aviation Support Brigade, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Spc. Luis Robles, Headquarters Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne);
  • Pfc. Cynthia Stephenson, Echo Company, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Pfc. Angela Taylor, Echo Company, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  • Pfc. Allan Guaro, 305th Quarter Master, 106th Transportation Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade
  • Pvt. Nicholas Marker, 372nd Inland Cargo Transportation Company, 106th Transportation Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

The team competed against the American Culinary Federation standards in eight Installation of the Year events and a total of 10 individual and team events which include a written knowledge test, live individual cooking, live team cooking and cold table events. Medals were earned based industry standards.

Pfc. Angela Taylor, a 25-year-old from Merritt Island, FL, exuded enthusiasm and a huge smile by the pot load during her team’s Culinary Skills event performance.

“I’m loving it,” she said on the crowded competition floor at the competition in Fort Lee. “I’m enjoying myself. I’m learning a lot, and I’m having a great time.”

The Fort Campbell team won a total of 4 silver medals and 12 bronze medals. Although the Fort Campbell team didn’t come away with the IOY trophy the Soldiers gained a great deal of knowledge which they can use in basic food preparation in the dining facilities and in preparation for next year’s competition.

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