CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Battered catfish bubbled in deep-fryers and buckets of pasta were added to seasoned cheese sauce as Marines hastily moved around the Las Pulgas Mess hall galley in preparation for the lunch rush.
Unlike the daily routine of the Las Pulgas food-service specialists, Chef Mark Millwood provided the lunch menu on Feb. 6.
Millwood is a former U.S. Navy food-service specialist who now owns a local barbeque restaurant.
Millwood has catered to events as large as 5,000 people and believes that his experience will benefit the Marines.
Millwood told the Marines that when catering to large groups of people they should move with a sense of urgency and have the mind-set that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
These tips are important, said Chef Donovan Brown, regional executive chef with Sodexo. He said learning these methods breaks up the monotony of cooking the same thing every day while providing extra training opportunities for the Marines.
Millwood showed the Marines new ways to prepare fried chicken and catfish, cornbread, ribs, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and smoked beans.
Lance Cpl. Mandy Pack, a food-service specialist with Combat Logistics Regiment 17 here, said, “It has been a good learning experience to make different things than what we normally do.”
The hard work the Marines put into preparing the meal was appreciated by Cpl. Germaine Harvey, a motor-transportation operator with 1st Maintenance Battalion here.
“At first I was thinking that the Marines would mess up, but it turned out darn good,” said Harvey.
There’s more to being a military food-service specialist than a service member’s active-duty, said Millwood, who has had 26 years of food-service experience. He said there were several Marines with more cooking experience, and there are a lot of opportunities for these Marines after the Marine Corps.
“I want them to know that they can become chefs,” said Millwood, who served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
After serving the patrons of the mess hall, the food-service specialists gained experience in cooking new foods as well as tips to becoming a better chef.