Update 10:20 a.m. Friday with winning dishes.
Navy chefs from all over the world gathered in Coronado to compete in the 4th annual Culinary Competition, where 12 teams of two people must create two original entrees in just 90 minutes.
Each entree had to include turkey breast and beef tenderloin. A secret ingredient is introduced the day of the competition.
Southeast Region Culinary Specialists Michael Morel and Tomeeko Young won first place, with their menu of:
- Prime Rib with Caramelized Shallots
- Stuffed Turkey Medallion cut with Mushroom Gravy
- Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Grilled Squash
Four guest judges evaluated each dish Wednesday on taste, presentation, method, knifing skills, safety and cleanliness. The judges table included executive chefs Joaquin Cueva, Dorance Aldrige, Chris Kline, Aidan Waite and celebrity guest "Sam the Cooking Guy."
Cueva served on the board of Chef de Cuisine Association for eight years; the organization helps orphanages in Tijuana. Cueva said he's looking for "presentation, taste and practicality" when judging the contestants.
The competitors represent Navy installations across the country and areas as farflung as Africa, Asia and Europe.
Navy Region Southwest competitors include San Diego-based Culinary Specialists Sophia Palafox and Ruel Sulangi.
Palafox wanted to make an impression because she won't be back for another contest.
"This will be my last one. Since I'll be transferring next year anyway, this will be my last hoorah," she said of her upcoming deployment.
Palafox's teammate Sulangi doesn't feel the pressure or the race against the clock. He said, "This is just for fun."
The team won second place this year.