Patriot Inn food service specialists and support staff gather with the regional Philip A. Connelly trophy the team won Feb. 21. (Photo by Chuck Cannon, Fort Polk Public Affairs Office)
Soldiers with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Patriot Inn compete for culinary greatness
Spc. Kay Edwards
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office
FORT POLK, La. (March 6, 2020) — Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), and Patriot Inn Dining Facility, were recognized Feb. 21 for their excellence in Army food service as regional winners of the annual Philip A. Connelly Competition.
Connelly devoted his professional life to perfecting food service management in both civilian and military venues. The Philip A. Connelly award was established in recognition of his devotion to food service and working in conjunction with Department of the Army Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, headquartered at Fort Lee, Virginia, and the National Restaurant Association.
“Winning this award shows how the Soldiers care about feeding their peers here at 3rd Brigade,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Gustad, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, and NCOIC of the Patriot Inn DFAC. “It shows that they put in a lot of effort, their creative side, and also their attention to detail.”
There are more than 60 areas of inspection, with graders from both the restaurant industry and Fort Lee coming down to evaluate the Patriot Inn.
“We had to prepare in many areas — admin, rations, training and cooking procedures,” Gustad said. “We started preparing approximately three months before, so it’s not just cooking a meal and presenting it. There’s so much more than that.”
The 3rd BCT and Patriot Inn are among the seven finalists who will move on to the Department of the Army competition on March 18.
“It feels good because you’re not always recognized for things that you do,” said Pfc. Jquawn Williams, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, and a cook at the Patriot Inn. “To be recognized as a group and as a Family, and to achieve something that most dining facilities don’t achieve, feels really good.”