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Minnesota National Guard
Cooks Get Fired Up for Competition Comeback

Cooks Get Fired Up for Competition Comeback CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - Culinary sections of the Minnesota National Guard and Army Reserve participated in the 48th Annual Philip A Connelly Regional Competition July 10, 2015

"It is a culinary competition, where the section is evaluated not just on food preparation and quality, but on field site layout, food service and sanitation, as well as maintenance of equipment and training," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Erickson, food program manager for the Minnesota National Guard

The Department of the Army and the International Food Service Executives Association established the Phillip A Connelly Memorial Awards Program in 1968 The program is designed to improve food service operations Army wide and recognize the achievements of superb unit performance and stellar management practices

Each October, the competition is announced and the menu is sent out Army-wide This year's menu is savory baked chicken, spicy brown rice, and herbed broccoli The unit culinary sections had the choice of what they serve for dessert along with warm and cold beverages

"This is the one competition where the culinary sections, from around the state, can show their expertise in the area of field kitchen operations," said Erickson

Staff Sgt Dawn Mahon, acting culinary management supervisor for D Company, 134th Brigade Support Battalion, showed her culinary expertise with a meal that evaluator Keith Mackie said was the best he has seen so far in his evaluations D Company, placed second in last year's state competition

"It's a story of the comeback kid," said Mahon "It's a challenge that any Soldier would aspire to, this is where we get to make a difference within our organization," she added

First Cook Sgt Brian Hacken, prepared a Florida Lemon cake garnished with candied lemon rinds He is not only a trained Army cook, but is also a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Spec Vicki Greene knocked it out of the park with the savory baked chicken Greene used progressive cooking techniques to ensure the Soldiers at the end of the line received the same great quality of chicken as the first in line

The regional competition ends on July 31, 2015 The winners of the regional will move on to the Department of the Army competition The winners will receive $50,000 dollars in kitchen equipment for their armory and the bragging rights of being the best in the nation


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