Navy Chefs Compete in 39th Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event

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Story Number: NNS140309-06Release Date: 3/9/2014 8:54:00 PM

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Shawn D. Graham, Center for Service Support Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va. (NNS) -- Culinary specialists (CS) and military chefs from around the world have gathered at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, Fort Lee, Va., to showcase their unique talents and cooking skills at the 39th Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitve Training Event (MCACTE), March 9-14.

The MCACTE is one of largest culinary competition in North America. Since 1973, the competition has been conducted each year with the exception of 1991 and 2003, during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The competition is sanctioned by the American

Culinary Federation (ACF)and showcases the talents of military chefs from around the globe in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

According to Chief Culinary Specialist (SW) Chad Shiflet, assigned to Commander Submarine Force, the MCACTE is a chance to show off the culinary skills of those who feed the fleet.

"The entire training aspect of training junior Sailors excites me," said Shiflett. "We want to perform well and learn from guidelines set forth by the ACF."

The ACF is comprised of more than 22,000 members in 230 chapters across the United States, and is known as the authority on cooking in America. Its mission is to make a positive difference for culinarians through education, apprenticeship and certification, while creating a fraternal bond of respect and integrity among chefs everywhere.

"We have really talented chefs throughout the Navy who don't always have a chance to showcase their enormous skillset," said Shiflet. "Training opportunities like the MCACTE allow our junior Sailors to blossom into great chefs. It will also instill pride. That pride translates to high-quality food for Sailors serving aboard ships and shore installations. Many of the culinary specialists participating have trained many months for countless hours prior to the competition. They are really focused and want to represent the Navy well at this competition."

Each chef will rely on their own talent and creativity to produce entries for nine categories and myriad sub-categories.

"This event is quite challenging, especially for a young cook," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Alejandaro Rodriguez, assigned to Naval Air Station Oceana. "We don't do a lot of scratch cooking out in the fleet. Everyone will gain a lot of new skills and techniques they will use in their respective galleys. Cooking at this event really brings the out the creative passion in me. The MCACTE gives all participants an opportunity to compete against other top notch military chefs. It's an amazing experience."

The Navy boasts more than 7,000 culinary specialists, deployed around the globe, feed on average more than 92 million meals per year, ensuring the Navy's fighting forces operate at peak performance.

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