Kitchen on wheels serves up meals

Spc. Raymond Menjiver, left, Spc. Joshua Fouch, and Sgt. Christopher Gimber, right, fill their plates with food from the 304th’s Mobile Kitchen.  Soldiers of the 304th Sustainment Brigade at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., were treated to a hot meal on the weekend as part of the debut of the unit's Containerized Kitchen, a trailer that has all of the equipment necessary for meal (U.S. Army photo by Spc. K. Christopher Witt)

Spc. Raymond Menjiver, left, Spc. Joshua Fouch, and Sgt. Christopher Gimber, right, fill their plates with food from the 304th’s Mobile Kitchen. Soldiers of the 304th Sustainment Brigade at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., were treated to a hot meal on the weekend as part of the debut of the unit's Containerized Kitchen, a trailer that has all of the equipment necessary for meal (U.S. Army photo by Spc. K. Christopher Witt)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- New Orleans may have Emril, and Las Vegas brags about Wolfgang Puck, but the Army has Sgt. Miguel Lopez. 

Soldiers of the 304th Sustainment Brigade at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., were treated to Lopez's cooking on the weekend of March third and fourth as part of the debut of the unit's Containerized Kitchen, a trailer that has all of the equipment necessary for meal preparation. 

"No one wants to be a cook in the Army," said Lopez. "It's a hard job, but
it's worth it if you like to cook." 

The new way of serving up lunch means that Soldiers won't have to travel across the base or to off post restaurants for the mid-day meal. It also means not having to settle for a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). 

The first meal served from the kitchen consisted of steak, baked potato, corn on the cob, salad and cake.  On March fourth Soldiers ate chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, cornbread, salad, and strawberry shortcake. The cooks in the mess section also prepared a variety of beverages to quench the thirst of even the thirstiest Soldier.
The menus that are served during battle assembly are chosen by the 63rd Regional
Readiness Command; but Lopez was glad to serve steak as the first meal from the kitchen. 

"Every time we do steaks we run out," he said. 

All of the Soldiers in Lopez's section were motivated and in top form on the kitchen's first day in operation. 

"Normally it takes four people 45 minutes to set it up," said Lopez, who has been a cook in the Army Reserve for five years. "Today, it took only half an hour." 

"You know how people say you have to like your job?" he said. "You have to love this job."