Top Air Guard Units Compete for National Food Service Award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Kitchens from three Air National Guard units, chosen from around the nation, are competing this month for "best food service" in the Air Guard. Services Flight of the Iowa Air National Guard's 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City is one of the units who invited representatives from the Hennessy Travelers Association to be appraised as part of the annual culinary competition.

Inspectors from the Hennessy Association are visiting the Dining Facility in Sioux City over the March Unit Training Assembly weekend. During the two day evaluation Services Flight is being judged on food service and hospitality excellence.

The 185th Food Service is competing with their counterparts from Illinois's 182nd Airlift Wing based in Peoria and Tennessee's 134th Air Refueling Wing from Knoxville for the Air National Guard Award, named after the late Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Disney. The Disney award was created in 2000 as a way to promote quality meal service in the Air Guard. The award program has units from all 54 states and U.S. territories vying for "Best Food Service" among the ninety-nine Air Guard units nationwide.

The evaluation is a collaborative effort with members from the National Guard Bureau, the National Restaurant Association, as well as the Culinary Institute of America working together to improve food quality and service throughout the military services.

Mr. Dick Hynes president of the Hennessy Travelers Association is in Sioux City as part of the evaluation team. Hynes explained the evaluation is looking at kitchen operations which include items like serving and dining, sanitation and management. "Our goal, since program began was to bring civilian and military together to improve food service" said Hynes.

Over the past decade many members of the Air Guard's Services personal have deployed in support of contingency operations around the world. Whether they are at home or abroad, one thing that is usually a top priority to commanders is quality food service. According to Hynes this is what the program aims to accomplish. "Quality food service is great for morale" said Hynes.

The winner of the competition will be announced later this month and the top competitor is invited to attend the National Restaurant Association, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago, in May of this year. During the show the top unit is also presented with a traveling trophy and plaque.

Additionally, one member from each of the final three units is selected by the evaluation team to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California, for a week of training and hands-on experience all paid for courtesy of the National Restaurant Association.

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