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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Aug. 22, 2008

Courses at Andrews new chef brings own flair to menu

By Pacifica Chehy Capital Flyer staff writer

The Courses at Andrews welcomed a new team member recently--a new chef who likes to take a traditional, ordinary recipe, add a little of this and that, and transition it into extraordinary dish. 

"I've been cooking for over 20 years," said Eric Briggs, The Courses at Andrews chef. "In 10th grade they had a French cooking class that I took and that's what really got me into cooking." 

Mr. Briggs said that in his case, cooking is not heredity. "Well, my mom was the youngest of 12 children -- and, well, she didn't know how to cook. So, that's how I took up cooking," Mr. Briggs said with a smile. 

Mr. Briggs knows Air Force life well as he was a weapons specialist for eight years in a career that took him from such diverse stations as Spain to Italy to the Philippines, South Korea, and Virginia. 

So, how did Mr. Briggs personal history of loading bombs onto airplanes prepare him for his career today as a chef? "I am really into trying new food and flavors and experimenting with local tastes," said Mr. Briggs. "I picked up a little something here and there with every place I went and still do that today. I knew this is what I wanted to do when I got out of the service." 

Once Mr. Briggs separated from the Air Force, he entered The Culinary School of Washington and started his career at Well Done Catering, the Holiday Inn on U Street, and several other restaurants in the area to get line experience. Mr. Briggs most recent experiences is as a chef at the private Arts Club of Washington and as a chef at one of the mid-Atlantic's top ranked golf courses by Golf Digest, the Country Club at Woodmore. 

Mike Thomas, The Courses at Andrews general manager, said that golf course is looking to expand its hours into the evening several nights per week and Mr. Briggs is looking forward to the challenge. "Once we're open evenings, that's really when I'll be able to showcase my talents and ideas," said Mr. Briggs. "We'll be able to introduce Asian, Sicilian, and Mediterranean menus and really experiment." 

As a chef, Mr. Briggs has two chefs he really admires. "Justin Williams, who was a Cajun cook, and Emeril -- they really got me into Cajun cooking -- I love the infusion of flavors in their French, Caribbean, and American Indian cooking style." 

Mr. Briggs' vision for The Courses of Andrews is to infuse a little flair into the menu. "I'd like to upgrade the menu selection, while still making it a place where people can come and enjoy lunch, and not make it too pricey," said Mr. Briggs. "I'd like to add a little personal touch to everything, a little individuality. I love regional cooking that involves fresh vegetables and a light and healthy menu. That's what I'm looking forward toward transitioning to here."