CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Navy Region Southwest held its 8th Annual Navy Culinary Competition at the galley onboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, May 8.
The "Iron Chef"-inspired event brought eight teams of two active duty Navy culinary specialists from the Southwest region for a chance to compete nationally in the 2017 Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Navy Culinary Competition in Great Lakes, Illinois.
"The region put in a lot of work in this competition," said Chief Culinary Specialist Christopher D. Ganaden. "We prepare every year as early as December to bring out the maximum skills in all of the competitors."
The competition began with opening remarks from Capt. Scott T. Mulvehill, commanding officer, Naval Base Coronado, following an introduction of the competing teams and judges. This years judging panel consisted of Chef Aidan Waite, Food Network Star Penny Davidi, Chef Kenneth L. Hargreaves, and Area Vice President of U.S. Foods National Sales Anne Van Den Haute.
Each team had 150 minutes to create a three-course meal with secret ingredients of trout and ginger revealed to the contestants minutes before the competition began. The teams were not allowed to bring extra equipment or prepared recipes, which added to the intense competition.
The judging criteria included plate presentation, taste, creativity, organization, culinary skills, degree of difficulty, sanitation, teamwork and food appearance. Points were deducted from their overall score if the contestants wasted food or violated sanitation standards. While the judges critiqued the final dishes, guests were provided samples from vendors including Tyson and Hormel.
Third place was awarded to Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Ralph C. Louispierre and Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Benhur I. Cardines, representing Naval Air Station North Island.
Second Place was awarded to Culinary Specialist 1st Class Lhendie Rocamora and Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Nicole M. Howard, representing Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California.
The grand prize was presented to Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Neptiah N. Stanley and Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Christine J. Mumphrey, representing Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme.
"I'm so thankful for all the support I received that brought me here," said Stanley. "This experience is very humbling and I'm thankful to be apart of it."
The judges congratulated all the participants and said they enjoyed their experience with working with the armed forces.
"Not only was I able to mentor these talented Sailors," said Davidi. "I picked up a few things from them as well."
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