GROTON, Conn. – Culinary Specialists at Naval Submarine Base New London’s Cross Hall Galley competed in an annual USO barbeque challenge this month by cooking locally and competing virtually.
COVID-19 mitigation measures and travel concerns led the USO to host the competition and gather Navy teams from across the World Wide Web.
A team of four Cross Hall Culinary Specialists contended against teams from Naval Station Everett Washington, Naval Air Station Fallon, and Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.
“I think it’s great that we still found a way to have the cook-off,” said Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 2nd Class Vick Persaud. “This was a morale booster for the team and nice to get out of our normal routine.”
The competition consisted of teams preparing and cooking four barbecue themed entrees and four side dishes while simultaneously broadcasting their efforts over the web for judges and other teams to observe.
The Cross Hall team prepared Caribbean jerk chicken, shrimp skewers, Southern macaroni & cheese, and brisket to name a few items. The shrimp skewers were a local recipe, while the brisket was smoked overnight for 16 hours, and the team used four different cheeses for the macaroni.
“A virtual cook-off isn’t something you see every day and was interesting to say the least,” said Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Aldwyn Parchment. “I’ve never done anything like this before and I’d definitely do it again.”
To judge the competition the USO brought in famous world class chefs and everything will be aired on the USO’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
As the winning team will not be revealed until Sept. 5, Cross Hall Chief Culinary Specialist (Submarine) Kevin Stanton offered praise for the team’s efforts while ensuring they would not get “swelled-heads.”
”I am incredibly proud of my guys,” said Stanton. “I think everything they did was miles above any of the other competing teams. They still can’t beat me in a competition, but they can and will beat anyone else.”