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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Aug. 19, 2013

Airmen and Soldiers bring heat to the kitchen

By Airman 1st Class Joshua R. M. Dewberry 11th Wing Public Affairs

Air Force flight attendants from the 89th Airlift wing and stewards from the United States Army Priority Air Transport gathered for a first-ever joint culinary training session Aug. 14 at the USAPAT command building here.

Six flight attendants from the 1st Airlift Squadron collaborated with three USAPAT stewards to improve their culinary skills and exchange ideas.

"There are a million ways to make a meal, but we want to learn from each other and see what each branch brings to the table," said Tech. Sgt. Crystal Dassance, a flight attendant and assistant NCO in charge of flight attendant training. "We are trying to start a culinary arts team and we wanted to reach out to the community to find perspective talent."

Dassance said it makes sense to start with a small group of participants to gage interest from other squadrons for future events and share their culinary knowledge.

Army Staff Sgt. David Cantwell, USAPAT steward, contacted Dassance with the interest of starting a joint culinary team, leading to the organization of this training session.

"Right now, the training is specifically for flight attendants and stewards. For our next event, we will invite the culinary staff from the dining facility on base and some Navy specialists," Cantwell said. "It's great to see such talent here today, not everyone who takes on this job has a cooking background."

Led by Cantwell, the stewards prepared the main course from scratch, with the flight attendants making the dessert.

"I created part of the menu," Cantwell said. "We used this same meal for training a couple months ago as part of a bigger selection. The food we prepared is an example of what we might serve on a flight." 

In a blur of quick and precise hand movements, and with the sounds of chopping knives and clanking pans, the artists went to work filling the air with delicious smells.  The stewards displayed classical knife cuts and a plate presentation of the food once it was finished.

The first course of the meal consisted of pork tenderloin roulade with roasted butternut squash risotto, haricot verts with fresh garden herbs and a morel and chanterelle mushroom cream sauce.

The second course boasted a chocolate mousse pyramid with a shell so thin, that a coconut pecan filling gushed out of this culinary craftsmanship at the slightest tap of a spoon. This was accompanied by macerated fruits and a mint crème anglaise.

"At Fort Drum, we had a culinary team that went down to Fort Lee, and competed annually, and there were about five other teams that were joint (branch) teams at the Fort Lee Culinary Arts Competition," Cantwell said. "When I came to Andrews, I didn't see that same kind of partnership or competition, so that was something I wanted to produce."

Cantwell said he hopes to foster further interest for future participation from an Andrews' culinary team at the Fort Lee competition next March.