U.S. Army Africa chef earns top honors in culinary competition
By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa
VICENZA, Italy – When Sgt. Ken Turman drizzled thickened meat juice around a plate of herb pork tenderloin crepinette, he was putting the finishing touches on an entrée that would take top honors at the 35th U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition.
Turman, a U.S. Army Africa chef who works at Caserma Ederle’s South of the Alps dining facility, served as team captain for U.S. Army Europe’s team during the March 12 competition at Fort Lee, Va.
“Sgt. Turman's performance at the competition was exemplary,” said Maj. L. Trice Burkes, commander of Headquarters Support Company, U.S. Army Africa. “His accolades clearly represent years of commitment to the culinary field. We’re honored to have such an NCO among our ranks.”
Overall, the USARUER team earned 22 gold, nine silver and five bronze awards. The military chefs also earned the top team prize, the Installation of the Year award. It’s the first time since 1992 that a USAREUR team received the title. The USAREUR team also won the best team buffet table award.
“Sgt. Turman showed a keen ability to grasp advanced cookery skills and methods along with understanding the requirements of the rules established for the culinary competition, enabling him to be quite successful,” said Sgt. Maj. Mark Warren, from USAREUR’s logistics directorate, who managed the team.
The meal that won gold for the team included an appetizer of seared salmon on a bed of tagliatelle vegetables, served with a citrus wine cream sauce and tomatoes concasse. The main dish included the herb pork tenderloin crepinette and braised pork belly with savory crimini mushroom bread pudding, plus carrot and ginger puree served with pearl onions, peas and creamed Savoy cabbage. The natural jus-lie – thickened meat sauce – was the final touch.
Following the entrée was a desert of streusel-baked apple with mascarpone cream filling, pistachio sponge cake with raspberry cream and chocolate décor served with warm apples and raspberries in vanilla syrup with lemon.
Turman also served as captain of the student skills team. He received a silver medal in the senior chef of the year category and took gold in both the nutritional hot food challenge and in live hot food cooking. Turman was also selected to represent the Army during the Culinary Olympics World Cup this November in Luxembourg.
Warren is encouraged to see younger chefs like Turman develop skills and study the finer points of cookery, he said.
“I would expect to see great achievements and advancement in his future,” Warren said.
"Iowa Jima", a chocolate sculpture sits on a cold foods table in the Field House at Fort Lee, Va., March 7, 2010. "Iowa Jima", prepared by U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Cunningham, Fort Hood, Tx., is one of the many center pieces of a cold foods table during the 35th Annual Culinary Competition. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Walter Reeves/Released)