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Fort Bliss soldiers take Southwest heritage to the table in Army-wide cooking competition

Fort Bliss soldiers work on culinary skills
Fort Bliss soldiers work on culinary skills.

FORT BLISS, Texas -- Soldiers at Ft. Bliss are going through some grueling training and braving the heat of the kitchen.

A local team is getting ready for the by the Army in Virginia and they’re not just making prepared field meals.

The Ft. Bliss Culinary team are preparing to go head to head against army kitchens from across the country and across the world in Virginia this March for the Joint Culinary Training Exercise.

The 2020 rules ask for at least one local beer ot be folded into the menu.

“We made ensalada Fish tacos with a beer batter. We used as much heritage as we could, made tortillas from scratch just the way grandma made it at our house,” said chef and Sergeant First Class Fabian Murillo.

The heritage didn’t stop there. Murillo is leading his team of soldiers in the kitchen, combining classical with childhood kitchen table.

“In the salad we did a nice champagne gelee and then we used mango vinaigrette,” he said, remembering mango in the fruit bowl growing up.

“The second dish happens to be chicken and stuffed it with chorizo. We hand made our own chorizo, put all the spices you would find,” Murillo explained.

“We made a nice deep fried churro and then we made some sorbets ont he side for that freshness you would need when you’re eating all that sugar,” said Murillo as the wrapped up the menu.

Murillo’s passion visible when you see him coach his kitchen through the plates and talking about the values he’s instilling in them.

“My grandma had a lot of dexterity that came from doing it for so so long that it came second nature to her. Sometimes I’ll be sitting around working on something and it feels like she kind of takes over,” Murillo said, tearing up as he thought of her influence.

From fridge to pan to table all this hard work is for those moments the judges take their first bite.

“Just to have someone destroy their food in 15 seconds and be like ‘I accept it. This is great, this is something that I would enjoy again.’ Then you become a staple, a master of your craft,” Murillo said.

The small team from Ft. Bliss led by their chef from east LA are planning to made their blue corn tortillas just like grandma used to and given the French a run for their money.

The Ft Bliss team leaves to compete next Tuesday. If they win they’ll get bragging rights.

Article Topic Follows: Military

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Julio-Cesar Chavez

Julio-Cesar Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter.


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