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Kearsarge's first Steel Chef champs cook up winning combination.

Two teams of cooks aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) competed for 90 minutes in the ship's wardroom galley for the right to be called Kearsarge's Steel Chef.

A panel of 10 Navy and Marine Corps judges evaluated each team on presentation, taste, originality, and the best use of the theme ingredient for each dish prepared.

"Spanish-themed food was chosen for this competition," said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Marco Phifer, Steel Chef facilitator and Kearsarge's food service leading chief petty officer. "Each team pushed the envelope by successfully creating difficult dishes with only 90 minutes to put everything together."

The Navy team was comprised of Culinary Specialists 1st Class Ron Mills and 2nd Class Corey Johnson.

"Our main entre was shrimp Veracruz with Mexican rice," explained Mills. "The dish had a perfect blend of sauteed shrimp with cilantro, garlic and tomato, which proved to be a hit with the judges."

The team also prepared a meatball soup called albondigas, taquitos, and sopapillas, a fried dough dessert.

The second team was comprised of Marine Staff Sergeants Nathan Perez and Phillip Creasor, assigned to the "Fighting Griffins" of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266. "We turn wrenches all day, so this was great to compete in the Steel Chef competition, " Creasor said."We gave it our best and we gave the judges the best presentation we could."

The "Green" team prepared Spanish shrimp soup and beef empanadas, followed by a main course of asada steak over seafood paella Valencia.

"I want to thank the participants for a great competition, as each of these guys stepped up to the challenge," said Kearsarge's commanding officer, Capt. Baxter A. Goodly, one of the Iron Chef judges. "For the 'Green' team to not be cooking professionally on a daily basis, they did a tremendous job. The vote turned out to be a close one, but I think I speak for many of the judges when I say the main entree by Mills and Johnson put them over the top."

By MC2 Class Mike Lenart, USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
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Title Annotation:around the field and fleet
Author:Lenart, Mike
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Date:Nov 1, 2010
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