On October 19, 2019 Executive Chef Tim Weinhold from the Rams Head Tavern in Savage, Maryland provided a culinary demonstration for Maryland Military Department personnel. Nearly 80 members of the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF), Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG) and cadets from the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy were in attendance. This Culinary Boot Camp was spearheaded by the Maryland Defense Force and organized by Lt. Col. (MDDF) Anthony Wisniewski.
“The goal of the Culinary Boot Camp was to provide Maryland Military Department personnel with some basic tools that will enable them to cook healthy meals that also taste good. Eating healthy is an important part of overall health and wellness,” commented Wisniewski. “Initially we were focused on training and educating MDDF personnel but in the end we decided to open it up to our colleagues in the Maryland National Guard and the student cadets participating in the Freestate ChalleNGe. This ensured that the Culinary Boot Camp curriculum would have an even greater impact,” he shared.
Chef Weinhold’s curriculum included teaching knife skills, healthy cooking, healthy eating and healthy menu preparation. “I wanted the participants to leave the presentation with some simple tools to make their food preparation healthier and simpler without sacrificing taste,” he noted. “It’s not always a matter of what food we purchase that makes the difference. Sometimes how we prepare that food can be a more important factor when it comes to our health,” he added. Some of the chef’s prepared menu items included salmon fish tacos, chicken stir fry and New York strip steaks.
Earlier in the morning, each member of the MDDF participated in a mandatory weigh-in and height measurement. Each MDDF member was also encouraged to take the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test. The height, weight and physical fitness readings were compared to U.S. Army standards. All of these activities are a part of the MDDF Health Initiative which was kicked-off last year with a presentation named, “Increasing Your Metabolism” that was given by personal trainers from the Army Wellness Center.
“The culinary boot camp is another example of MDDF commitment to improving the overall health and welfare of the force,” said Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Lorenza Cooper, commanding general of the MDDF. He further said, “Healthy lifestyles is a critical part of the MDDF health and physical fitness initiative. Understanding our force strengths and weaknesses; technical, mental, and physical, is essential in determining the MDDF ability to successfully accomplish the mission.”
The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer militia unit providing competent, supplementary, professional and technical support and soldiers to the Maryland Military Department and the State of Maryland as needed. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 200 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland.