Military Meals Competition in Gourmet Foods



Last week, Gourmet Foods classes hosted a Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) challenge, a twist on the hit cooking competition show Chopped that had students prepare several dishes using MRE for judges consisting of military personnel and staff members.

Organized by College and Career Specialist, Michelle Jones, and Gourmet Foods teacher Lisa Hughes, students created appetizers, main meals, and desserts that included southwest tacos, pizzas, brownies, apple cobbler, and other appetizing creations. 

“I really just enjoy the competition and the challenge of taking the foods and trying to recreate them to make them better and [use] any ingredients to make them pop,” sophomore and winning team member Kaylee Jacobs said.

Cooking is Adulting 101, so you need to be able to prepare food for yourself.”

— Lisa Hughes

This event was organized to teach students critical thinking skills and include military personnel in Stone Bridge activities. Creating meals out of usually-distasteful MREs is an extremely important project because knowing how to make meals with limited resources is critical for self-sufficiency and success.

“I think it’s important to be able to take anything and make food out of it,” Ms. Hughes said. “Cooking is Adulting 101, so you need to be able to prepare food for yourself.” 

Additionally, the project allowed students to learn more about the military experience by meeting military personnel who gave insight into their lives in a creative way that caters to student interests. 

“I think it’s great just to raise awareness about more things about the military, because I think a lot of our students just immediately go right into 4-year college, and they don’t think about the military as being an option,” Ms. Jones said. “This is just like a fun low-key way for kids to learn about the military in a fun way with no pressure.”

Gourmet Foods might be one of the most practical classes Stone Bridge has to offer. The challenge raised awareness of military life and gave students the opportunity to grow in the field of culinary arts. Last week the class made tamales for Cinco de Mayo, and this week they will be learning about cooking methods and food for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. 

“You get specific things and combine them together using their creative minds to come up with dishes that you would never think would come out of one of these MREs is incredible,” food judge Sergeant First Class Kevin Melton said. “It’s really neat to see how proud they are with what they’ve constructed.”