Sharing knowledge and culture through food

  • Published
  • 2nd Bomb Wing

Private industry chefs mentored enlisted aides and food services Airmen from across Air Force Global Strike Command during a unique culinary training event from October 22 to 27 at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

During the week-long training, seven enlisted aides and food services Airmen worked with and learned from private industry chefs Helmet Holzer, James Corwell and Jeffery Mora.

On the first day of the event the participants were separated into teams of people with various backgrounds and experience levels to provide everyone with the opportunity to learn.

The food services Airmen received training on food presentation, knife skills, filling out recipe cards, differentiating cuts of meat and how to perfect each meal.

“I learned that you can always take your skills to the next level,” said Senior Airman Maxiel Jimenez Martinez, 28 Force Support Squadron Food Service Specialist. “The first thing people see from their food is how it looks. Presentation is the first thing you should be worrying about. It’s basically about giving the people the best of the best.”

As the training throughout the week progressed, the food services Airmen became more motivated, confident and comfortable working with their teammates and trainers in a new environment.

“The Airmen are getting more comfortable and confident and using their voice more constructively,” said Master Sgt. Xenia Thomas, 12th Air Force enlisted aide. “I think this is a great opportunity for all Airmen across the board. It’s nice to see them get out of their comfort zone and do different things.”

Thomas said she believes this event encouraged teamwork, but ultimately helped Airmen become more confident and connected through shared experiences.

“All of the Airmen get to make all these different cultural dishes that were passed down from generation to generation, and I think the biggest thing is that it’s the food that really brings people together,” said Staff Sgt. Veronica Vasquez, an enlisted aide for the 8th Air Force. “I think that the way you connect to other people is through our basic need to survive.”

The training concluded with a capstone project where the Airmen were required to prepare food for an event that would serve 150 people. They prepared 20 new recipes and served dorm-resident Airmen, who normally eat at the dining facility, to simulate attendees of a large-scale event.

Though this was the first event like this to be hosted, each team expressed their hope for it to continue in the future.