Whittier Tech Students Accept Challenge of Turning Military Rations into Tasty Meals

Whittier Tech students posing with their medals were, from left to right, Olivia DeLisle, Nora Broadrick and Haley Miller. (Courtesy photograph.)

Turning military Meals Ready-to-Eat rations into tasty, full-course lunches and dinners was a challenge accepted by culinary arts seniors at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Whittier Tech seniors Olivia Delisle, Nora Broadrick and Haley Miller were awarded silver and bronze medals during the “MRE Challenge” promoted by SkillsUSA and held in January at the Massachusetts Army National Guard Readiness Center in Natick. Students were joined by instructor Tjiste Boringa.

“The MRE challenge is a way to uniquely express the skills we have learned in shop, as well as an experience to go out and use those skills outside of our normal environment and comfort zones. I also loved working alongside the Army National Guard’s own personnel, seeing who can serve the better dish,” Miller said.

Students were given six pouches of MRE meals and were tasked with using the ingredients to create an appetizer, entree, dessert and drink that would be more appealing than the pre-packaged meals. They created an appetizer of beef potage, which is a thick soup with vegetable cracker crumbs; entree of a veggie smash burger with tater tots; mixed berry punch drunk; and checkerboard cornbread cake for dessert.

Dishes were judged on creativity, presentation and taste. After being sampled by military personnel and SkillsUSA members, Whittier students were awarded a silver medal for creativity and a bronze medal for presentation.

“It was really nice to have been able to go back. Our teachers were very supportive and helped make it a really great last MRE challenge,” Broadrick said, while Boringa added, “This competition was a wonderful and unique way for our up-and-coming chefs to showcase their talents, and we are very proud of their excellent work.”

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