A Fort Drum soldier will get the chance to put his skills to the test this weekend in New York City. It's all part of a live Army versus Navy cooking challenge on NBC's "Today Show" for the 4th of July. As our Brian Dwyer reports, the Army is confident it is sending one of its best chefs.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Every morning, Staff Sergeant Carlos Quiles wakes up and heads to the dining facility. Not to eat, but to cook for hundreds of soldiers in the 511th Military Police Company.
"You can't operate. You can't run without eating," Quiles said. "So the proper nutrition to feed the force is basically our job."
And the numerous awards and accolades he's won show Quiles is one of the Army's best. So good, in fact, he's been chosen to compete live on the “Today Show” on NBC Sunday in a 4th of July military challenge against one the Navy's best. And while he knows he can do it, he's still going to be nervous.
"Basically the audience," He answered when asked about the most nerve wracking part of it. "There's going to be a lot of people there, so that's intimidating itself. But of course, being able to perform at that caliber you're expected to for culinary aspect of it."
"You've got some of the top chefs in the world actually in the military," Dining Facility Shift Leader Sgt. David Cantwell added. "You've got guys that are world ranked. This is huge."
It's actually Cantwell who will help Quiles contain those nerves. He's going as well, as the sous chef. So they've both been working on the menu, a 4th of July favorite, ribs and potatoes. But Quiles is adding a special Asian twist.
"I'm going to do a Korean BBQ flavor marinade for the ribs and a Thai slaw to go on top," He said about the "Today Show" food. "The potatoes, I went with a Japanese version of croquettes."
"His flavors. The way he mixes ingredients," Sgt. Cantwell added about the taste. "Everything is constantly bursting with flavor."
Now the Navy actually got the better of the Army on the football field this past season. But the cooks here say it's just not going to happen Sunday in the kitchen.
"Yeah, there's a huge rivalry there. He's got all of Fort Drum counting on him," Sgt. Cantwell said of SSG Quiles.
"Definitely," SSG Quiles added. "You wouldn't want to lose in anything you do, but especially this. It's a very branch specific now."
And these guys actually know their Navy counterpart, saying they think he's the very best the Navy has. It only adds to that nervous pressure.
The Army vs. Navy 4th of July Cook-off is set to air live at 8:45 a.m. Sunday.