USS RUSHMORE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Rushmore (LSD 47) held an "Iron Chef" competition March 20; an idea inspired by the Food Network's show where chefs compete in a one-hour cook off in which a secret ingredient must be present in all appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Eight teams contended for the title "Iron Chef Rushmore" using chicken as their secret ingredient. A five-judge panel critiqued dishes on color, flavor, texture, originality and presentation.
Leslie Bilderback, a certified master baker and author with nearly 20 years experience who was on board as part of the ships Adopt-a-Chef program, took part in the tasting as a guest judge.
"I've never seen anything like this before," said Bilderback. "All the teams came up with some great dishes, I couldn't wait to taste them."
Culinary Specialist (CS) 3rd Class Chelsea Barnes, who was part of a three-person team of fellow Rushmore cooks, said she and her teammates put their minds together and got creative.
"I think we were the best at presenting due to our skill at garnishing," Barnes said.
In the end, presentation did not save Barnes' team, and the title "Iron Chef Rushmore" was awarded to the team of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Rachel Rogers, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Tyler Shannon and Information Technician 3rd Class Vincent Ball, whose Japanese inspired chicken sushi wrapped with frosted flakes guaranteed victory.
"I was pretty amazed," said Shannon. "I didn't think we were going to win at all. We were kinda pushed for time, but it was really fun.
"Originality was key. The random dish came into our minds when we were preparing. We stuck with an Asian theme -- nothing special. I guess it was good enough to win though."
Rushmore's chain of command plans to continue the competition during their Western Pacific deployment later this year.
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