Cooks from around Fort Bragg are participating in a three-week culinary skills training course at the Fort Bragg Culinary Skills Training Center, July 15 to Aug. 2 to improve their basic culinary skills.

The Culinary Skills Training Course is de­signed to teach intermedi­ate competencies in food preparation, menu plan­ning and buffet presenta­tion.

“The course is a lot more than the students expect,” said Staff Sgt. Jesus Lo­pez, a food service special­ist with XVIII Airborne Corps, and Culinary Arts Training Center non­commissioned officer in charge.

“It’s almost like a shock to them,” said Lopez. “We keep them actively en­gaged from start to finish.”

The methods of instruc­tion used at the course consist of classroom lec­tures, while the majority of the students’ time is spent doing practical exercises in a laboratory environ­ment in order to accelerate learning.

For a Soldier to attend the course he or she must first meet the prerequisites. Some of them include, Soldiers in the rank of private first class through

sergeant first class, a mini­mum of 18 months time in service, must not be flagged or barred from reenlistment, and cannot have a profile that prohib­its them from heavy lifting or prolong standing.

“Basic knowledge, and a little bit of dining facility experience is what we’re looking for,” said Lopez.

“We want each of our students to at least under­stand and know some of the basic terms used in and around the dining facility.”

At the end of the course, each student will be able to identify and use special­ized food preparation tools and equipment, routinely demonstrate superior food service safety and use sani­tary practices during food preparation and services. The students will also be able to demonstrate thor­ough knowledge of a va­riety of cooking methods and coordinate the prepa­ration and presentation of

multiple menu items.

“The course is very elab­orate,” said Sgt. Anthony Shaw, food service spe­cialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 50th Signal Battalion.

“It shows me the differ­ent ways in which I can broaden my skills, and not only retain what I’ve learned, but to implement them on a day-to-day ba­sis while on the job,” said S haw.

“Potential is limitless at the culinary skills training center,” said Lopez.

Lopez said the whole purpose of this course is to choose the culinary teams. They get a chance to see first-hand who their strong

people are on Fort Bragg, so they can later represent the post at the yearly Cu­linary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va.

“The program can only be as successful as our food service community allows it to be,” said Lopez.

“We’re willing to teach our young and up-and­coming food service spe­cialists,” he said. “We just need the units to send them to the course.”

For more information about the different courses offered at the Culinary Skills Training Center, contact Sgt. Maj. Scott Dugan, XVIII Airborne Corps food service ser­geant major at 643-4262.