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(Clockwise from top left) Pfc. Devon Jackson, Cpl. Elias Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Kelly Adams, Lance Cpl. Ferman Sanchez-Vega, all food service specialists aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, won first and third place in the Chef Team of the Quarter competition aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Oct. 25. Adams and Sanchez-Vega will compete again in the Chef Team of the Year competition against other winning teams.

Photo by Cpl. Timothy Norris

Air Station chefs take home trophy

14 Nov 2013 | Cpl. Timothy Norris

Two teams of Marines won first and third place at the Chef Team of the Quarter competition at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Nov. 25. The teams are selected by nomination of their peers to compete against two other teams from Parris Island to compete for the Chef Team of the Quarter title and trophy and to have a chance at competing in the Chef Team of the Year competition.

“It’s something to do outside of our everyday mess hall work,” said Lance Cpl. Kelly Adams, a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron food service specialist from Clearwater, Fla.
Adams and her teammate, Lance Cpl. Ferman Sanchez-Vega, an H&HS food service specialist won first place in the competition, bringing back the Chef Team of the Quarter trophy to the Air Station from Parris Island.

"It’s a source of pride and it’s going to stay here,” she said.

The teams had four hours to prepare their pre-decided meals for a board of judges, but unexpected circumstances put pressure on the contestants. 

“We fell short on some of the ingredients, but improvising is the key,” said Pfc. Devon Jackson, an H&HS food service specialist from Houston, Texas. 

Devon and his teammate, Cpl. Elias Gonzalez an H&HS food service specialist from Los Angeles, Calif., served a cream of broccoli soup and twice baked sweet potato and roasted garlic asparagus with a rib-eye steak topped with a tarragon Dijon mustard sauce and mousse pudding, earning third place in the competition. Adams and Sanchez-Vega served a cream of mushroom soup, with a twice-baked potato, roasted garlic and parmesan vegetables with a Swiss steak and cream cheese tartlets. 

Jackson added that while the last-minute changes were difficult, the hardest part was waiting for the judges verdict. “It was nerve wrecking, but we could tell the more they ate, the more they liked it.” 

Adams and Sanchez-Vega took first place by two points on a more than 300 point scale, making it a close call for the judges. Both teams said they believed it was the tartlets that pushed Adams and Sanchez-Vega to victory. 

“I’m a baker by trade,” Adams said. “Before the Marine Corps I was a cake decorator. I’ve done it my whole life, so when it comes to pastries it’s my thing.” 

Adams and Sanchez-Vega will go on to compete in the Chef Team of the Year competition early next year.