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Mighty Ninety chefs step up to challenge

  • Published
  • By Lan Kim
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Napolean Bonaparte said, "An army marches on its stomach." Missile wing chefs provide an essential part of the support mission for the nuclear enterprise by keeping all deployed missile personnel fed and ready to accomplish the mission at a moment's notice. After feeding the force, they also compete with each other to see who can out cook the competition.

Dining facility and missile chefs from 90th Force Support Squadron gathered in the kitchen of the Chadwell Dining Facility Aug. 27, 2015, for the unveiling of the top secret ingredient -- cheese crackers with peanut butter.

Surprised looks plastered the faces of the nine chefs. Immediately, the three teams of three chefs briefly talked amongst themselves and scrambled out to execute their plan. The culinary battle challenged the chefs to create an entrée combining the theme ingredient and a separate dessert dish within an hour time limit as the "Iron Chef" competition quickly got underway.

"I didn't know what to do with the crackers and the peanut butter," said Airman 1st Class Ruel Abastas, 90th FSS missile chef, speaking of when he initially saw the secret ingredient. "It threw me off, but when I saw it I thought of le cordon bleu. We had chicken in our ingredients. I just came up with the idea; we can just make it like a bread crumb. We crumbled it, did an egg wash and then coated it with the crackers."

"It was kind of blindsiding," said Senior Airman Scott Yager, 90th FSS missile chef. "We were expecting something a little more common in the kitchen; instead we got cheese and peanut butter crackers. Didn't know it at first, but our meal was open enough to be able to incorporate the ingredient."

In previous year's competitions, chefs faced off for esprit de corps and morale amongst their fellow food service Airmen according to Capt. Jessica Gelsomino, 90th FSS assistant sustainment flight chief. This year marks the first time the winning team will compete and represent the 90th Missile Wing at Air Force Global Strike Command's Global Strike Challenge.

"This has been something that's been talked about for some time now," said Master Sgt. Brian Tucker, 90th FSS missile feeding superintendent. "Now that we (have) more support, we want to highlight the chefs' skills. It's a really great initiative to get them involved."

Chefs fill a vital role for missile operations by continuously providing the fuel to fight. Like their counterparts in the missile field, they too trip out to endure a three to four day period at the missile alert facilities. Unlike their counterparts, they were not able to compete in the Global Strike Challenge until this year.

"Chefs (were an) unrepresented piece of that puzzle," said Gelsomino. "It only makes sense to add them to the competition. They are part of the team out there, so they should be part of the team to compete."

Upon completion of the competition, three judges were ready to evaluate the entrees and desserts on taste, plating and originality.

Chief Master Sgt. John Facemire, 90th Mission Support Group command chief; Col. Stephen Kravitsky, 90th Missile Wing commander; and Col. Trevor Flint, 90th Maintenance Group commander, judged the competition.

The winning team consisted of Airman 1st Class Ruel Abastas, 90th FSS missile chef; Airman Joseph Szafranski, 90th FSS food service apprentice; and Staff Sgt. Shasta Ward, 90th FSS missile feeding non-commissioned officer in charge.

They are slated to head to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to compete against chefs from other AFGSC bases later this fall. 

"I am very happy and grateful with my team," said Abastas. "I'm excited and want to represent F.E. Warren very well and try our best."



Peanut Butter Cracker Crusted Chicken Roulade with Herb Cream Sauce

Chicken Breasts, butterfly cut, pounded
Peanut Butter Cracker, (secret ingredient), grounded
Celery, minced
Onion, minced
Carrot, minced
Swiss cheese, chopped
Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Whole eggs, 2
Half and half cream
Basil, 1 tablespoon
Oregano, 1 tablespoon
Potatoes, whole, cubed
Celery stick, chopped
Asparagus, chopped
Salt and pepper

Sauté minced celery, carrot, onions in olive oil until translucent. Set aside and let it cool. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and spread the cooled sautéed vegetables on top and add the Swiss cheese. Roll the chicken breasts making a roulade, seamed facing down to hold into place. On a separate bowl each have the eggs and peanut butter cracker ready, starting with the eggs coat the chicken roulade then coating it completely with the peanut butter crackers. On a hot oiled pan sear the chicken until lightly brown and finish cooking in oven for about 15 minutes at 350 F until the inside are fully cooked.

On a hot oiled pan, sauté potatoes first, add cream reducing it to half until creamy sauce consistency, add celery, asparagus, basil, oregano, and season. Making sure the potatoes are cooked.

Plate and serve.

Brownie, Chocolate Panna Cotta, Caramel Tuile Cookie, with Chocolate Drizzle


12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup bread flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Melt the chocolate and butter together. Whisk the sugar and eggs until light and airy. Add to chocolate mixture slowly. Then add the vanilla, bread flour, and baking powder. Mix until fully incorporated. Pour on a buttered baking pan, bake at 350 F for about 10-15 minutes.

Panna Cotta

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
2 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain gelatin powder

Put all together in a small pot, heat until the chocolate melts with the liquid. Pour into serving dish and chill.

Caramel Tuile Cookies

5/8 cup sugar
5/8 cup butter
3/8 cup flour

Mix butter and sugar, then add flour, making a paste. Roll quarter size balls and flattened on a baking sheet. Bake 350 F for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Chocolate Drizzle

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Melt and drizzle on plated desserts.