Coast Guard participates in Land and Sea Iron Chef competition

1st Coast Guard District NewsBrooklyn – There was no yelling or loud banging of pots and pans, nor was there food flying everywhere and tempers flaring. However, there was a dish, influenced by some of the great chefs of the past and present that pleased the palate of some of the toughest judges.

Four food service specialists, Petty Officer 1st Class Tera Ashmore, Petty Officers 2nd Class Bruce Wright and Niuam Beckett and Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Runn (who wasn’t able to attend the competition due to duty cooking) believed they had the passion and skills to take on the challenge. The petty officers, who work together every day at Coast Guard Sector New York’s dining facility, were up against a team from the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, N.Y in the 2012 Iron Chef-style competition.

“We’ve been working together for two years at sector,” said Ashmore. “In the kitchen setting, you get to know each other pretty well. We are pretty much a family. We really have to communicate and stick together in order to be successful.”

The two teams were presented with a basket of food including fresh shrimp, chicken, onions, carrots, celery tomatoes, potatoes, parsnips, herbs and of course, the mystery ingredient, which would be announced the morning of the competition – artichoke hearts. Using these ingredients, the teams had to create a surf ‘n’ turf dish. Whichever team incorporated the artichoke hearts into their dish would win an additional prize of $500.

The Coast Guard team quickly worked together to come up with a dish that contained the secret ingredient, but would also be easy to prepare, serve and, of course, please the audience.

The real challenge came when the team had to work together to prepare and plate 100 hungry audience members and win them over with a Caribbean-themed dish that was carefully planned to warm the body from the inside out, all within 15 minutes.

As soon as the announcer said go, the Coast Guard team fluidly worked together first layering white rice on the small plastic plate. The next member scooped a spoonful of savory chicken curry, then made room for the last member to add the vital side dish, ceviche, which contained the secret ingredient – artichoke hearts.

In unison, the announcer and audience counted down the last 10 seconds on the clock. The Coast Guard and Marine teams, just feet away from each other, worked swiftly to put out their last dish.

“Stop what you’re doing and put everything down!” the announcer called. “Judging by the amount of plates and food still here, I’d say it looks like the Coast Guard may have won this competition. But, unfortunately it’s not up to me. Audience, by a show of your paper, blue for Coast Guard and red for the Marines, who do you think won this competition? Well, it looks like we’ll release the results tomorrow.”

The audience, a sea of red and blue, cheered for their favorite dish. But, the official winner of the Land and Sea Iron Chef competition will be printed in the local Sunday newspaper.

“I think everything went pretty darn good,” said Beckett, about the competition.

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