NEW YORK CITY -- Service members and chefs from around the world gathered at the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum in New York Sunday for Fleet Week's Best Chow Competition.
Fifteen teams from ships and bases from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and India competed for the titles of best entrée, best main dish, best dessert, and the coveted Best Overall trophy.
Three Marine cooks from the Camp Lejeune Special Marine Air Ground Task Force, Sgt. Jamal James, Lance Cpl. Joel Dawson, and PFC Sanjay Ferron prepared shrimp, crab, grilled rib-eye steaks, roasted peppers, potato skins, and stuffed baked apples for dessert.
While the Marines were disappointed they were unable to bring home the overall trophy, won by the Army's 77th Regional Support Command, they were proud to compete and to win the Best Dessert trophy.
"It feels good to represent the Marine Corps well," said James, a Columbia, S.C. native. "For the past several years Marines came to the competition with MREs, but we worked hard, showed Marine cooks do have culinary skills, and hung with people from all over the world."
"We got a trophy, so now we can brag a little," said Dawson, an Orlando, Fla. native.
"This year I think we surprised everyone, in the past Marines came with MRE's, but we worked hard and the food turned out great," said Ft. Lauderdale native Ferron.
"Hopefully the Marines that compete next year will build on our success and win the overall trophy," Ferron added.
The competition was judged by distinguished chefs from New York as well as Maj. Gen. Jon Castellaw, Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Air Wing, and Rear Adm. Michael Nowakowski, commander of Amphibious Group 2.
"It's great to have the competition among the ships from all over the world and Marines. It shows how we can all work together," said Castellaw.
"All the food is unbelievably delicious," said Nowakowski.
Silverio Chavez, executive chef for New York's famous Bice restaurant, said, "Everyone has very good presentation and flavors. They did an amazing job."
"This is exciting, I was looking forward to see what America's finest had to offer. I'm impressed, the Marines did real well," said David Brown, general manager of Blue Ribbon in New York.
Service members from other nations cherished the opportunity to come to New York and compete.
"Coming to this competition was something amazing that we had never even dreamed of. We will take back from here memories that we'll cherish forever," said Cadet Gaurav Durgapal, a member of the Indian ship Tarangini.