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French armed forces compete against the clock in gourmet cook-off

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Military chefs compete Wednesday at the Institut Paul Bocuse
Military chefs compete Wednesday at the Institut Paul Bocuse
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Food on the front line is rarely anywhere near Michelin star quality.

But a contest in France is sprinkling some gourmet stardust on military grub.

Eight chef duos from bases around the country competed on Wednesday for France’s Trident d’Or prize.

In just under four hours they were tasked with creating a gourmet plate under real-life army restrictions: no high-end ingredients and no plate could cost more than €7.62.

“I have almost never suffered as much in my life in a kitchen with conditions like these,” said Marquet Guillaume, a military chef. “You have to run, be vigilant, look at the time. It’s permanently stressful.”

As the chefs raced to beat the clock, they’re closely watched by generals – who mind their precision, form, and this time, taste.

The generals are then paired with some of France’s most decorated chefs to taste and choose a competition winner.

“For the army, we have to respect the primary materials that are available to them,” said Stacy Cez, a Meilleurs Ouvriers de France sausage butcher. “These are things that can vary depending on where they are in the world. And after that, there is the taste aspect, the respect of cooking times, of seasoning.”

The top two chefs in the Trident d’Or will go on to compete with military chefs from around the world in a competition in Fort Lee, United States.

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