It’s a cook-off that recognizes those feeding our military men and women on the front lines. The competition is Army-wide for food service specialists taking place in hot and tight quarters with little room to move simulating what a real-life kitchen trailer experience is like for soldiers in the field.

Competitors arrived at 6 a.m. to begin preparing for their big moment, cooking nutritional meals that will be judged by supervisors and competing against other units from across the country.

“Because we’re feeding so many soldiers, we want to make sure that it’s sanitary, that no one gets sick, and that we use the proper procedures to make sure that it abides by the Army’s standards,” Sgt. Angela Williams said.

Competitors are feeding up to 60 soldiers each day this week. For the main course, they’re using recipe cards. But things are a little different in the dessert round.

“We have one of our specialists that are actually creating their own special dessert,” Sgt. Williams said. “No one knows about it yet so that we can be creative and go a little bit outside of the recipes for once.”

This is all done with the support of their kitchen patrol, who assist with sanitizing, preparation, checking the water source, and keeping the power running.

“A lot of the time, we’ll run out of water and we’ll have to find a water source. Or sometimes the power acts funny or our burners will run out of fuel. I’ve got to try to make sure those are always fueled up.” Special Kevin Campbell said.

All of that ensures that the soldiers are fueled up and ready to serve.

If the unit at Fort Sam is able to place, then they’ll move up to a higher level where they will be able to compete against active duty dining facilities as well.