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Soldier chefs give meals fresh twist
Ford Plantation Executive Chef Juan Carlos Rodriguez Sergeant Ned Thomas Specialist Sheanta Scott photo l-r small
Ford Plantation Executive Chef Juan Carlos Rodriguez, left, helps Sgt. Ned Thomas and Spc. Sheanta Scott prepare a meal recently as part of a fresh food cooking program with the Ford Plantation and Fort Stewart. (Provided)

Taking the basics and making it his own is one of many culinary lessons Staff Sgt. Eric Holland learned in a partnership program between Fort Stewart and the upscale Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill. Holland was one of the first soldier chefs to enter the ongoing program.

The culinary partnership between Fort Stewart and the luxury residential and sporting community on the Ogeechee River helps promote the use of fresh food in menu items prepared on post in an effort to reduce the Army’s use of canned food, Ford Plantation General Manager Bob Gusella said.

Each week, four soldier chefs work alongside Ford Plantation’s executive chef, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, and his kitchen staff, Gusella explained.

“We’ve actually had three different groups of four soldiers (so far),” he said.
Gusella said the idea for the program was planted in 2009, after a group of Ford Plantation members and employees toured Fort Stewart.

“The tour included a tour of one of their dining facilities,” he said.

Gusella said Fort Stewart leaders had commented that they would like to upgrade the installation’s food service, and after further discussion and continued support from former 3rd Infantry Division commanders, Gens. Thomas Vandal, Tony Cucolo and Jeffery Phillips and current 3rd ID Commander Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, the program was implemented.

“It really came to fruition after the first of this year,” Gusella said.

Read more in the July 2 edition of the News.

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