‘Broncos’ cook up new culinary competition

| January 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Jerald Bonkowski (right), assigned to Co. E, 29th Bde. Engineer Bn., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, and Spc. James Newberry, assigned to HHC, 325th Bde. Support Bn., 3rd BCT, prepare Caribbean style rack of lamb at the Bronco CafŽ, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 19, 2017. Bonkowski and Newberry participated on Black Team during the 3rd BCT Top Chef Competition. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Sgt. Jerald Bonkowski (right), assigned to Co. E, 29th Bde. Engineer Bn., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, and Spc. James Newberry, assigned to HHC, 325th Bde. Support Bn., 3rd BCT, prepare Caribbean style rack of lamb at the Bronco CafŽ, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 19, 2017. Bonkowski and Newberry participated on Black Team during the 3rd BCT Top Chef Competition. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The sounds of sizzling entrees were heard as two culinary teams competed for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team Top Chef at the Bronco Café Dining Facility, here, Jan. 19.

“The mission of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team Quarterly Top Chef Competition is to continually raise the standards of culinary excellence and professionalism,” said Master Sgt. Orland Akins, senior culinary management noncommissioned officer, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, 25th Infantry Division.

Akins said he wanted to start the quarterly competition as a way to nurture the creativity of individual chefs and provide a showcase to demonstrate their individual skills, techniques and styles.

Gold Team and Black Team, consisting of five culinary specialists each, were led by the winners of the Chef of the Board from the 1st quarter.

“Each team will be issued 200 servings to prepare for three entrees,” he said. “The team leader will have one plate of each product for the display table and three plates for the guest judges for a total of four plates.”

Incoming diners judged the participants on their entrees by receiving a scorecard upon entry of the dining facility. The diners that entered the dining facility received a half portion of each team’s entrées.

Sgt. 1st Class Jose Alves, Senior food service culinary management NCO assigned to 8th Military Police Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, tastes one of the meals during the judging portion of the 3rd BCT Top Chef Competition at the Bronco CafŽ, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 19, 2017. Alves judge the meals based on creativity, taste and presentation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Sgt. 1st Class Jose Alves, Senior food service culinary management NCO assigned to 8th Military Police Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, tastes one of the meals during the judging portion of the 3rd BCT Top Chef Competition at the Bronco CafŽ, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 19, 2017. Alves judge the meals based on creativity, taste and presentation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

“The competitors will be judged on the following categories: practicality, nutrition, workmanship, economy, presentation, creativity and concept,” he said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jose Alves, a certified executive chef and senior food service culinary management NCO for the Logistics Readiness Center Hawaii Culinary Arts Lab, here, served as a guest judge for the two teams.

“What we’re looking for is creativity, taste, presentation … and make sure they’re using the proper components as far as ingredients, if they blend well,” Alves said. “Certain ingredients have to mesh. If you use seafood, there’s certain herbs and produce that goes with that dish. If you’re using chicken, certain things we look for.”

Alves, a former “Cacti” Soldier once assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regiment, 3rd BCT, and who worked at the Bronco Café in 2005, was delighted to share his experience with the younger generation of culinary chefs.

“When we judge events like that … we know these Soldiers are not certified,” he said. “They’re not at that competition level like myself and my Soldiers.”

Black Team was the winning team during the 3rd BCT Top Chef Competition at the Bronco CafŽ, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 19, 2017. The culinary specialists prepared a winning meal of Caribbean style rack of lamb, island style red snapper with a pineapple salsa, and a Jamaican jerk chicken during the competition. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Black Team was the winning team during the 3rd BCT Top Chef Competition at the Bronco CafŽ, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 19, 2017. The culinary specialists prepared a winning meal of Caribbean style rack of lamb, island style red snapper with a pineapple salsa, and a Jamaican jerk chicken during the competition. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Alves wanted to push a high level of excellence for the culinary Soldiers at the dining facility, so they could one day represent the Army team at the annual Military Culinary Arts Competition held at Fort Lee, Virginia.

After the votes had been tallied, along with Alves’ heavy vote, it was Black Team led by Sgt. Jerald Bonkowski, assigned to Co. E, 29th Bde. Support Bn., 3rd BCT, which won the day.

The three entrée meal that Black Team had created was Caribbean style rack of lamb, island style red snapper with a pineapple salsa and a Jamaican jerk chicken.

“Today, it was mostly just team work,” Bonkowski said. “Every time our team came up with an idea, everybody jumped on board real quick, and there was no arguing. We just kept rolling with it and didn’t stop what we’re doing. It was a good day.”

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