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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Marines and Civilian Chefs Compete Chef of Quarter Honors

By Pfc. Emmanuel Necochea | Marine Corps Installations West | December 10, 2015


CAMP PENLDETON, Calif.— Cpl. Monica Rios and Lance Cpl. Marshall Griffiths, Food Service Specialists, Food service Company, Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group, took first place during the Marine Corps Installations – West Chef of the Quarter Culinary Competition here, Dec. 9.

The 1st place winners will have a chance to go to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were also awarded medals.

“The first place winners will be on a list to go to school at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York,” said Donovan Brown, the regional executive chef of USMC West. “They will go through a certification class up there. It is huge to be there.”

 Judges score the teams based on proper cooking and safety regulations, sanitation practices, proper food handling, proper yields, and making food look attractive.

“Everything that they are tested on here is something that they are responsible in doing on a day-to-day basis in this job,” said Brown. “We are looking for them to showcase proper cooking temperatures, cooking methods, all our safety regulations.”

Brown added that units use these competitions as part of their training as well.

“This is all part of a training regimen,” said Brown. “Everything I do here, I try to make it training.”

 This is the third time Headquarters, 1st MLG cooks have won the Chef of the Quarter competition.

 “We only had a day to get the menu up, leading up to this event, but I had my knowledge and also tried to prepare a menu that could go anywhere…whatever the secret ingredient was I could easily make a meal with it,” said Rios. “I never thought I’d win one of these, so it feels great.”

Rio said that all of the awards, acknowledgement and title of being Marine Corps “chef of the quarter” in the West Coast are something she is very proud of.

“This competition takes our military-style cooks and lets them step outside the box a bit,” said Brown. “They get to go outside of standardized recipes. They are allowed to use their knowledge here from the Corps and outside, before they came in, and also everything they are seeing on TV now.”

Rios and Griffiths will go on to compete in the MCI-West Chef of the Year Competition in September.