CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A kitchen and a trophy is what stood before four culinary teams chosen for the third Chef of the Quarter competition taking place at Wallace Creek’s chow hall aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 29, 2015.
Contestants faced several challenges during their grueling competition to determine the top chef at Camp Lejeune. The biggest challenge for the teams was meeting the four hour deadline in which they had to plan, create, and deliver a dish to four experienced judges ready to decide which chef would reign supreme.
“Today we are competing in the third Chef of the Quarter competition,” said Sgt. Andrew Perkins, a Food Service Specialist with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. “In order to qualify for the competition you need to pass a series of tests that include a written portion as well as testing day where the competitors competed head-to-head to determine a winner.”
Contestants had to create a drink, an appetizer, a main course meal, and finish with a dessert.
“This competition allows the participants to think outside the box,” said Wade Smith, the Senior Production Manager for Camp Lejeune’s Sodexo service. “They can create a masterpiece from their childhood and share it with the judges; we want the public to see we do more than what you see on a daily basis at the mess hall.”
The participants were being evaluated as soon as the competition started; two galley judges in the back ensured the event was being conducted the right way.
“I strive to be a mentor for the Marines under me today,” Perkins said. “When you have Marines that can cook a five-star meal today, then go back in the galley and show that same effort when cooking for the Marines on a daily basis, [it] shows others we strive for the best.”
The food was judged by the four judges as well as the people’s choice.
“It brings camaraderie to the table, the units support the Marines here,” said Smith. “The competitors have four hours to create their meal, they want to do it right.”
After much chewing and consideration, the four judges chose Sgt. Perkins and Lance Cpl. Luis Batista, known as Wallace Creek team bravo, as the top chefs in Camp Lejeune.