Military servicemen and women from the Army, Air Force, Air National Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, and Military Sealift Command operations worldwide engaged in state-of-the-art culinary education and training, mentoring and networking, during the 2015 Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence from September 21-25. The annual event was hosted by the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California.
The 36 students in attendance participated in programming on seasonal cooking, creative utilization of leftovers and knife skills. The week-long educational event is designed to hone attendees’ culinary and foodservice management skills by offering interactive seminars, hands-on cooking activities, and mentoring and career-coaching sessions, led by top-flight CIA instructors and leading foodservice executives, suppliers and industry leaders. Highlights included spirited Unitized Group Ration challenges and an innovative recipe contest sponsored by Rose Packing Company.
SrA Chelsea Lawson, U.S. Air Force, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; A1C Jonathon Martinez, U.S. Air Force, Hurlburt Field, Florida.; Sgt Austin Nelson, U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona.; Alvin Nucum, Military Sealift Command, USS Frank Cable; and Specialist Alexandra Treul, U.S .Army National Guard, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, Wisconsin, won the recipe contest with a roast rack of pork stuffed with spicy spinach served with apple gastrique, and accompanied by orange-scented sweet potato puree, and fresh, white asparagus salad.
“We are pleased to be involved in the military-focused programming of the NRAMF that supports culinary operations of our nation’s armed forces with the goal of giving back to our military servicemen and women who to do so much for our nation,” says Nick Ledanski, director of military sales at Rose Packing Company Inc.
“With more than 1.7 million new restaurant and foodservice jobs opening in the decade, the NRAMF’s goal is to connect with military personnel and help them further develop the skills and passion for their work in support of the nation’s armed services, and also prepare them to find rewarding careers in the restaurant sector following their service to the nation,” adds Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy at the National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Before the start of educational programming, students took part in a tour of Napa Valley and a brewery tour and dinner, hosted by long-time NRAMF sponsor, Anheuser-Busch.
“For more than 150 years, Anheuser-Busch, its employees, its Foundation and its family of wholesalers have supported America’s armed forces through numerous programs and philanthropic efforts,” says Josh Halpern, vice president-national retail sales, on-premise and military at Anheuser-Busch. “More than 5,500 Anheuser-Busch employees have served in military campaigns over the years, so we’re proud to support the NRAMF and connect with programs that help fortify the skills of servicemen and women in military foodservice operations.”
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 250,000 military veterans are currently employed in the restaurant industry, and the number of employment opportunities is projected to increase by 25,000 in the next five years.