I have the distinct honor and privilege of volunteering at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run. The retreat is a 2.5 million dollar 11,000 sq. ft. home on 37 acres in Haymarket, Virginia. We invite wounded Warriors and their families out from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital to spend 5 days out of the hospital and rehab environment.
I am the lead on the Visiting Chef Program. On Sunday night during each guest stay we invite chefs from the area to come out and prepare extraordinary meals for the wounded warrior and their family. Last night was the Warrior’s birthday dinner with 10 friends and family and I thought I would invite some special chefs.
Our Chefs from left to right:
Sierra Tyler, USN Assistant Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Warrior’s son, who learned how to be a Sous Chef
Jason Rohrs, USGC Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Ken Gardner, Executive Event Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
Jim Cole, Resident Sous Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
Each warrior completes an application to come to the retreat that includes about 20 food questions. Gluten free, allergies, spice tolerance, favorite dishes etc. The answers to the questions go to the Visiting Chef to help them design a 4 course meal.
The Warrior’s son learned what it was like to be a Sous Chef.
Filet Mignon is ready for searing and the oven.
Just about done searing and then into the oven.
There is always prep work.
Chicken Posole cooking.
Tortilla sliced up and crisped in vegetable oil.
Preparing the first course of Chicken Posole — Cilantro, Lime, Crema, and Tortilla Crisps
Plating the salad course.
Apple and Brussel Salad — Pecans, Shallots, Gorgonzola, and a Champagne Vinaigrette
Here comes the main course.
Filet Mignon — Mushroom Lasagna, Parsnip, Green Beans, and Demi-Glace
The birthday cake was created by Brenda Wilks with our amazing Bakers on Call Team. Bakers on Call are more than 30 volunteer home bakers who make sure the Warrior’s favorite fresh baked goods are waiting for them when they arrive for their stay. The Bakers on Call have just started supporting the Visiting Chef Program. Most of our chefs are savory with just basic pastry skills. We looked at increasing the involvement of our Baker’s on Call Team and they are now doing much of the custom dessert work for Visiting Chef Night. The Chef is welcome to make dessert if they like, but most of relieved not doing it.
Everyone had a great time and loved the food.
If you would like to see more pictures from this dinner and other Visiting Chef Night dinners visit our Flickr.com page. If you are a chef and would like to learn more about how you can volunteer and give back please see the Visiting Chef Program web page.