A Strange Place for a Culinary Arts Program

"You're in the Army now" rhymes with "and eating Army chow." The implication is that preparing Army food is not at the top of a list of culinary arts jobs. In fact, complaining about military food is something that unites armed forces members from around the world. You'd never suspect an Army cook of having a culinary education or of being a graduate of a culinary arts program. Recent events at a U.S. base in Germany would prove you wrong.

The Thanksgiving celebration at the Army facility in Kaiserlautern, Germany, gave Army cooks an opportunity to show off their culinary educations and, in some cases, to launch their culinary arts careers. The military culinary arts show followed a program as elaborate as any civilian culinary competition. The Army cooks took on the culinary arts challenges faced by gourmet chefs in top restaurant jobs.

Culinary arts jobs in uniform

Although the quality of Army food has risen above the hash slinging of days gone by, you might never think of military kitchens as spawning grounds for culinary arts careers. The Thanksgiving competition seems to have raised the MOS (military occupational specialty) of cook to the level of civilian culinary arts jobs. Of course the fancy chow won't become daily fare (except perhaps in the officers' mess hall.) However, many of the competing cooks have talked about seeking further culinary education and possibly entering culinary arts careers when their service time is up. For many of the participants, the Army's Thanksgiving culinary arts program was their first chance to see artistic food preparation and a level of culinary arts they don't normally witness in their jobs.