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Celebrity chef visits JBLM

Chef Robert Irvine indulges in the joys of cooking

Chef Robert Irvine enjoys an early morning workout with service members on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 25, 2021. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Richard Carlisi.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD - The kitchen at the Culinary University was filled with aromas like rotisserie chicken, scrumptious sausage, fresh fish and garlic as Chef Robert Irvine's British accent bellowed excited instructions to his students.

"As you lay your salmon on the pan, tilt it slightly and lay gently to avoid any oil splatter," said Chef Irvine as the fish started to sizzle. "I can tell you're aching to taste it."

About 10 military spouses were randomly selected to learn how to cook Chef Irvine's Salmon with Green Shakshuka and Chicken, Sausage and Quinoa Soup recipes from the culinary celebrity himself as part of a three-day tour here to promote healthy food options that taste as good as they look.

Chef Irvine's visit included cooking demonstrations for both military chefs and spouses, where he offered professional advice and guidance for a healthy and delicious diet, along with tours of some of the installation's warrior restaurants. Any time his students were indulging in their masterpieces, Chef Irvine offered words of wisdom.

"Creativity stems excellence, and is important in what we cook," said Chef Irvine. "If we can't get creative, our food is going to get boring."

Creativity and excellence are two goals that JBLM's warrior restaurants strive for as they try to provide nutritious options available to service members.

"We go off the Go for Green initiative in our warrior restaurants," said Tech. Sgt. Antwon Demario Nixon, a warrior restaurant assistant manager with the 627th Force Support Squadron. "This program helps ensure access to healthy food options for our service members. We have to be fit to fight."

JBLM's leadership and dedicated team of chefs are committed to raising awareness about nutrition and encouraging the community to choose healthier food options across the installation; which is why they reached out to Chef Irvine.

"Chef Irvine is big on health and nutrition," said Spc. Corey Barber, a culinary specialist with the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command. "Everything we make in the Army is either baked, grilled or broiled. It's cool to see the Army modernizing in that regard."

By offering more whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables in JBLM's warrior restaurants, these healthy food options mean less processed foods.

"The Army is leading the way in nutrition," said Chef Shane Cash, vice president of concept development and corporate chef. "Chef Irvine is excited to be here at JBLM because he believes strongly in nutrition and wants to have the privilege of being involved in the Army's success."

While meeting with Army and Air Force chefs, Chef Irvine emphasized their importance to the military.

"What you do makes a difference to the men and women who wear the same uniform as you," said Chef Irvine. "We, as chefs, have the ability to enhance people's minds and spirits. Chefs are morale boosters for the fighting force. A hot and healthy meal in the field can change a soldier's mindset and performance."

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