KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The day of an Army cook begins long before most other Soldiers awaken for morning physical readiness training. When others are just opening their eyes to begin the day, the food service specialists have already put in hours of work over hot stoves making each meal the best it could be.
Today, these culinary Soldiers make a special meal to compete with other cooks throughout the Army.
The Clock Tower Café dining facility and the 21st Theater Sustainment Command food service specialists that work there were judged by a panel from U.S. Army Europe, or USAREUR, as part of the annual Philip A. Connelly Awards Program on Kleber Kaserne, April 29.
The Philip A. Connelly Awards Program, or Connelly Award, was established March 23, 1968, to recognize excellence in Army food service and to build a competitive spirit among food service Soldiers. Each dining facility is judged based on whether the Soldiers are following the proper Army Recipe Card system, if the dining facility is being managed appropriately, if food is stored and prepared properly, meal quality and diner acceptability.
The dining facility is judged on the preparation and service of one meal, said Chief Warrant Officer 5 James D. Donaldson, USAREUR command food adviser.
"This competition allows the Army to bring light and praise to the food service community," Donaldson said. "The competition is ultimately designed to improve food service, create competitiveness in the Soldiers and make the dining experience better for the customer - our Soldiers."
The Clock Tower Café, and its staff, were judged on their preparation of the breakfast meal. Inspectors stood alongside the Soldiers and evaluated them as they prepared the meal, prepared each serving station and conducted their line briefing. The evaluators asked the Soldiers and dining facility management questions at each stage of preparation to ensure all proper procedures were followed.
"I know we did well because we have some of the best Soldiers working in this dining facility," said Spc. Myles F. Gooden, a food service specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 30th Medical Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command and a native of Newport News, Virginia. "Connelly is a great chance for all of us to know how well we are doing, to compete against our fellow cooks and to help us improve our service."
The Clock Tower Café is the first of multiple facilities to be graded by U.S. Army Europe. Once a winner is decided, that dining facility will put together a packet to compete at the Department of the Army level. The staff of the café is confident and hopeful they will be victorious.
"Today we did excellent and this staff always does an excellent job," said Staff Sgt. Kendrick B. Wilson, a food service non-commissioned officer, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command and a native of Andrews, South Carolina. "Winning this competition will not only show us that we are the best, but it gives us bragging rights and sets us apart from the other facilities in Europe."