USS Nevada Sailors take 3rd in Joint Chowder Cook-off
4/2/2008 By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/NAC) Eric J. Rowley, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Northwest
LAKEWOOD, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Nevada (SSBN 733) culinary specialists competed in a clam chowder cook-off at McChord Air
Force Base's Olympic Dinning Facility, March 27-28.
Culinary Specialist 3rd Class (SS) Larry Westerfield and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class (SS) Chris Stehr took third place out of nine
two-person teams in the 3rd Annual Northwest Clam Chowder Cook-off.
"I liked this event," said Westerfield. "It was a good way to show who was better for the bragging rights. It was a good competition
and I would definitely do it again. Overall it was awesome."
The nine teams, representing Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, competed in their chowder cooking abilities within a two-hour
time limit. An Army team took first place and a Coastguardsmen team took 2nd.
"It was a fun competition," said Stehr. "I like being able to compete against other branches of service to see what kind of training
they get. I learned the Army has really good garnishing abilities."
The first day was an orientation day where the participants were able to learn a little bit about the history and origin of clam chowder
and they discovered potatoes weren't added to the until the 1800s.
Westerfield and Stehr started making their chowder by making sure all their ingredients were ready to go for their Boston style clam
chowder. Then they started sautéing the vegetables in garlic and sherry. Once sautéed, they added flour to make the rue and
cooked it until it was a golden brown color to make sure it had a little bit of a nutty flavor.
"We went for a more traditional style of clam chowder," said Stehr. "We wanted to stay away from a lot of the pre-made products and
make the chowder from scratch. We used fresh shallots, new potatoes, garlic, truffle-infused oil, cooking sherry, sea clams and
Sicilian sea salt. It was all from scratch to make a more natural flavor."
Once the mix was a golden brown they added the whipping cream, clam juice, clams and potatoes then let it simmer until all the
flavors melded together. Then they added the heavy cream, then more simmering until it was time to present the dish to the judges.
"The judges said it was a pretty close competition point-wise," said Westerfield. "We were judged on color, texture, aroma and
presentation. I really enjoyed our soup when it was done."
All of the participants received continuing education credits used for a degree in culinary arts.
For more news from Naval Base Kitsap, visit www.navy.mil/local/kitsap/.