BREMERTON (NNS) -- Eight Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) competed in the 25th Annual Armed Forces Culinary Competition at Olympic College, May 6.
The event, part of the city of Bremerton's 69th Annual Armed Forces Festival, featured military chefs from 10 commands in the Pacific Northwest competing in several categories, including appetizers, desserts, and a timed cooking challenge known as the "Battling Chef."
"Showing off my culinary skills and representing JCS (John C. Stennis) at the same time gives me an enormous amount of pride," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class David Houchins from Lexington, North Carolina. "Any time we CSs (culinary specialist) can step out of the daily routine of following recipe cards and procedures to showcase our skills is what we love to do."
Houchins, who considers his hometown Lexington the barbecue capitol of the world, finished third in the ribs category. He and his counterpart's dishes were judged based on originality, consistency, appearance and taste. The judges consisted of Navy officers and the Mayor of Bremerton Patty Lent.
"From hors d'oeuvres to ribs to chili, it's pretty exciting for the community," said Lent. "It's the kickoff for our armed forces week and it has gathered a lot of attention, not only locally, but nationally as well."
Along with Houchin's third-place finish in the ribs category, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class James Bien, from Las Vegas, and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Raquel Sumaoang, from Honolulu, took home third place in the wings category, and John C. Stennis finished in third place in the overall competition.
The John C. Stennis team was comprised of Culinary Specialist 1st Class Tawney Holley, Culinary Specialist 1st Class David Houchins, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Lindsay, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class James Bien, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Denmark Cortez, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Juan Freas, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Raquel Sumaoang, and Culinary Specialist Seaman Khiem Nguyen.
John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.
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