The menu called for a soup, entrée and dessert with a steampunk theme.

Culinary specialists (92Gs) from across Fort Bragg were sharpening their culinary skills during a practice event at the Culinary Arts Training Center, Jan. 31. The Soldiers were preparing for the 42nd Annual Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event scheduled for March 4 to 9, at Fort Lee, Virginia.

The annual competition, which is attended by cooks from the Department of Defense worldwide, promotes growth in the culinary profession. Staff Sgt. Ferney Bonilla, 307th Brigade Support Battalion, said he enjoyed training for the competition.

“(I like) being able to create and to express yourself in a plate, to transform and bring ideas to all the people as you see it,” said Bonilla, an eight-year Army veteran.

Spc. Raylene Presnell agreed.

Presnell, who is assigned to the 659th Support Maintenance Company, was putting butter cream icing on a yellow and chocolate cake. Preparing for the competition allows Soldiers to improve specialty cooking skills for centerpieces such as cake icing, she said.

Bryan Nixon, quality assurance specialist, Logistics Readiness Center, helped to provide oversight for the training. Criteria he used included plating, serving size, and color and texture.

Nixon also looked for uniformity of skills, as in were all items of the same quality. The presentation of the cake was acceptable because it featured a flywheel design, which was in keeping with the steampunk theme, Nixon explained.

The MCACT offers free credentials that can be used for jobs post-military such as being a culinary instructor at Fort Lee or for enrollment in the Enlisted Aid Program. It is an important event along the timeline of becoming an accomplished culinary specialist in the Army.

Nixon said, “Their primary mission as a 92G is to reach their maximum potential as a Soldier-culinarian.”