Elmendorf cook one of best in Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross
  • 3rd Wing Public Affairs
Airmen that eat at Elmendorf's Iditarod Dining Hall should consider themselves lucky since they may have one of the best cooks in the Air Force preparing their meals.

Senior Airman Angel Ramirez, 3rd Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, was recognized as one of the top performers in her career field during the 2009 Hennessy Travelers Association Educational Foundation Armed Services Forum in Napa Valley, Calif. Oct. 4-10.

During an award ceremony held in Chicago, Airman Ramirez was selected as one of the 25 recipients of the 2009 John L. Hennessy award, recognizing excellence in the culinary arts.

She recently attended the forum at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone Campus. During the week-long course she learned different cooking techniques and flavor dynamics, and was able to practice what she learned hands on.

Airman Ramirez said that representatives from the Hennessy evaluation team came to Elmendorf for about a week and watched cooks on a day-to-day basis. She said they were judged on things such as attitude, teamwork, and leadership. 

The Airman believes she was selected mainly because of her cheerful attitude. "I'm never in a bad mood," she said. "If someone's in a bad mood it just makes everybody else's day harder."

Airman Ramirez is responsible for numerous tasks inside of the Iditarod Dining Hall. She works as shift leader, fills out production and inventory logs as well as meal preperation.

Of all her responsibilities, she enjoys cooking the most.

"I like getting my hands dirty," she said. "Cooking allows you to branch out and be creative."

She also said she feels there's more that goes into cooking than what people think. She said there's a lot of food to cook but very few cooks to do the job. It definitely becomes a team effort. People have to know what spices to throw into whatever they are cooking, because if you add something at the wrong time, it could throw off the flavor of your dish.

Even though she enjoys cooking now, Airman Ramirez said she never imagined herself doing what she does today. She grew up moving around, because she lived in a military family. She never took interest in cooking besides what she prepared at home.

Airman Ramirez has been in the Air Force for five years and Elmendorf is her first assignment, she worked in lodging for four of them before transferring over to the dining facility about a year ago.

Regardless of only being back in the kitchen for a year, Airman Ramirez has already shown she is one of the best at what she does.

"She's an extremely hard worker with an excellent attitude," said Master Sgt. Monty Willis, 3rd FSS dining facility manager. "We're glad to have her here and very proud of her accomplishment."