Military News

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The heat is on: Whiteman FSS teams compete in Iron Chef Challenge

by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2015 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- Six Airmen from the 509th Force Support Squadron (FSS) competed in the Global Strike Iron Chef Challenge Sept. 3, 2015, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

The Global Strike Challenge is held annually to determine the best bomb and missile teams from all Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) bases, but this year it will also determine who will hold the title of "Iron Chef". In accordance with the theme of the show from which the competition takes its nature, the challengers created dishes with a secret ingredient, unknown until its unveiling during the challenge.

Each team consisted of three members with predetermined roles and one team captain.  During the challenge the teams had an hour to complete a main dish and dessert for five judges.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Renton Espejo, a shift leader for the 509th Force Support Squadron, was the head chef for the blue team and made tough decisions when the pressure was on in the kitchen.

"The pressure of being in the kitchen with an audience watching every move I made was the most challenging part for me," said Espejo. "Knowing that I had to cook under pressure and be judged while the audience is watching was a bit scary."

Though the blue team was not victorious in the challenge, Espejo feels his team accomplished their goals during the competition.

"I was impressed by the courage both teams showed by being part of the challenge," said Espejo. "I felt like we did what we came for ... to show them that we can cook not only the dining facility food, but also a gourmet dish."

Both teams received great reception from the judges during the tasting portion, but one member of the red team felt as if their win was more of a comeback victory. 

The winning red team prepared fish tacos filled with spicy shrimp rice and a dessert of a chocolate peanut brittle cup with fresh fruit all including the secret ingredient ... yogurt.

"The Challenge felt a little chaotic at first," said Senior Airman Rafael Hirao, a storeroom manager for the 509th Force Support Squadron. "I thought the other team had handled that stressful situation a lot better than we did, they seemed a lot calmer and more composed than we were, but we overcame that adversity."

Whiteman's Iron Chefs are scheduled to go on to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to compete at the AFGSC level.

With a victory under their belt and the support of their former opposition, Hirao and his teammates are optimistic.

"Our team will win because we don't like to lose," said Hirao.

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