Army cooks getting credit for kitchen time [UPDATED]

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An Army cook, as part of a field feeding team, helps prepare dinner for more than 1,200 soldiers at an unnamed forward operating base. (Army photo)

A few dog faces are training to become chow hounds.

Army cooks put in long hours in hot kitchens to make sure their fellow soldiers are fueled up. Now they’re going to get credit for those hours through a new partnership with the American Culinary Federation, according to Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Delagarza, who works with the program.

“We work long hours, we work holidays and weekends, and we want to find a way to reward everything they’re doing,” Delagarza said.

Food service specialists (92Gs) who tally 4,000 hours in ten prescribed areas  — about two years of kitchen work — will get a culinarian certificate from the ACF, something that may well help make them more employable when they leave the military. It’s a comforting thought, especially as veteran unemployment reaches alarming proportions.

Delagarza, who dropped us an email about the program, writes:

We will combine on-the-job training with related theoretical and practical classroom instruction to prepare them for the culinary industry. The apprentice will be introduced to proper sanitation requirements and basic principles of nutrition, and be provided with actual hands-on training in a “real service” kitchen where students can practice basic and advanced skills in food preparation. This will allow them to develop a strong work ethic for a career in the culinary industry.

The pilot program is set for September at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Stewart, Ga., and Fort Campbell, Ky. More than 270 soldiers are slated to participate.

UPDATE: A longer article about this program is coming to next week’s in a few weeks to Army Times. Meanwhile, I’ll clarify for the folks who are interested–and I’ve seen your comments–that the pilot program is only available to folks who are just out of advanced individual training and going to the above posts. However, the intent is to expand it at some point. For more information, I recommend going to acfchefs.org.

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5 Comments

  1. Who do you contact here at fort hood about this to get soldiers involved in the program. This would be some great. Information to give to any and all sOldiers ad their command

  2. Kimberly A. Jones on

    Who would be the point of contact at Ft. Bragg so that more soldiers can be involved. Also, what about retires are the intitled to there certification certificate since they have met more than the required hours. If so, where do they go for this information?

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