The III Corps and Fort Hood Culinary Arts Team hosted a Thanksgiving Show at the Fort Hood Culinary Arts Center on Nov. 15.

The free and open-to-the-public event featured a live cook-off by Fort Hood chefs, a cold food display featuring numerous artistic concoctions, ice carvings and finger foods for the tasting pleasure of more than 30 attendees.

“Today we’re doing a Thanksgiving showcase to give back to the community and show thanks for all of the support we receive as we move on to compete,” said Sgt. 1st Class Zamain Brown, noncommissioned officer in charge for the team.

Led by Brown, the team will be competing in the 38th Annual Military Culinary Arts Competition held at Fort Lee, Va., starting March 6.

The competition is the largest culinary competition in North America and showcases the talents of military chefs from around the globe, representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We put this presentation on every year here to give people an opportunity to see what we’re going to present at Fort Lee during the upcoming competition,” Brown said. “Last year we took first in field, display table, and show platter categories, and third in installation out of 26 competitors.”

Brown said although they took home numerous first place honors last year, the team’s ultimate goal is to win the title of best installation during the upcoming competition.

“The purpose of the competition is to build cohesion in the food service world while finding out who is the best of the best in this military occupational specialty,” Brown said. “We’re bringing the gold back to the Great Place this year.”

With more than 250 participants from across 26 installations and all branches of service competing in the competition, becoming part of the III Corps and Fort Hood Culinary Arts Team is no cakewalk.

Pfc. Latisha Ford, a first-year member, said making the team has been a milestone in her career.

“I’ve always been really interested in culinary arts even before I joined the military,” Ford said. “I enjoy the adrenaline and the competition that comes from the great atmosphere of this job.”

Ford said that since making the team, she has found out all the hard work that is required to exceed the standard.

“A lot of people think this is a very easy job; this is anything but,” she said. “We’re constantly at work trying to perfect our craft.”

To decide what soldiers qualify to make the team, a competition is held to determine which individuals are best suited for the job. Try-outs last three days and cover everything from a written test to creating recipes from randomly given ingredients.

“If you’re thinking about attempting to join the team, be prepared to give it your all,” Ford said. “It’s very difficult to make it here, but the reward and honor associated with being a part of the team is absolutely worth it.”

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