Selfridge Airmen Show Off Their Cooking Chops

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
It was something with pork loin.

Cooks from the 127th Services Flight may have felt like they were operating from the inside of a pressure cooker during the September Unit Training Assembly at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The Services Flight created their own version of the Food Network program "Chopped," in which seven teams of two cooks were challenged to create a dish with pork loin and a series of ingredients that the cooks did not learn of until the competition started. They then had 90 minutes to create their entrees.

"We already know all these people can cook," said TSgt. Benjamin Mason, the Services Flight NCO who created the competition. "Now we want to see what they can really do."

To further add to the challenge, the cooks did not find out who their partners would be in the challenge until a few moments before the competition began. In addition to the pork loin, the ingredients included a rutabaga, onion, jalapeño peppers, chocolate mint candies and goldfish crackers. The teams also had access to a collection of spices and related items that were available as needed.

In addition to officers and NCOs from the 127th Force Support Squadron, several local restaurant chefs visited the Selfridge Dining Facility during the competition to serve as judges. Each team was graded based on taste, presentation, teamwork and their ability to explain how their dish was prepared.

The team of Staff Sgt. Daniel Herrick and Staff Sgt. Steve Saile, collectively known as "Team Riff Raff," won the competition - and bragging rights as the Wing's "Top Chefs."

"The surprise ingredients were fun," said Saile. "This relates to the real world where you don't know what you're going to work with and you end up with a lot of random ingredients."

While the competition was a fun morale builder for the Airmen involved, Senior Master Sgt. Timothy DeHate, another event organizer, said the competition had several real-world applications.

"Number one, we need to always be ready to feed and take care of our people," DeHate said. "You never know what kind of situation you might find yourself, what ingredients you will have available, who you might be working with from another service or even another country."

"You have to always be able to be creative, work as a team and get the job done under a variety of situations," DeHate said. "That's the bottom line."