By Airman Elijah Van Zandt, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 09, 2020
Food service airmen and contractors prepare the Elkhorn Dining Facility for the lunch rush, Dec. 1, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Holiday decorations line the walls and tables as the dining hall was open on Thanksgiving and will continue to operate during the holidays in the month of December. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elijah Van Zandt)
Airman 1st Class Alan Daniel, 341st Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, poses for a photo, Dec. 1, 2020, at the Elkhorn Dining Facility on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Daniel and the food service Airmen work hands-on with contracted chefs and also serve food during meals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elijah Van Zandt)
Jorge Busso, Elkhorn Dining Facility executive chef and manager, leads a team of chefs in a briefing before the start of the lunch hour, Dec. 1, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Busso is in charge of planning and executing holiday meals with the help of contractors and food service Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elijah Van Zandt)
Don Paulos, Elkhorn Dining Facility chef, slices bread in preparation for the lunch hour, Dec. 1, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Chefs and Airmen work together in the kitchen to prepare the most quality and healthy options available for mission success. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elijah Van Zandt)
While many Airmen enjoyed Thanksgiving at home with their families, those manning the Malmstrom Elkhorn Dining Facility ensured that those living on base were sufficiently fed.
341st Force Support Squadron Airmen were busy preparing meals at the Elkhorn Dining Facility starting at 6:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning for breakfast, and continued cooking throughout the day as the facility operated as a normal duty day.
“For winter festivities we utilize different skills such as slow cooking, and I’ve seen the chefs slow cook ribs that take 10 hours to cook and it rivals steakhouse quality food,” said Airman 1st Class Alan Daniel, 341st Force Support Squadron food service apprentice. “Our mission as the sustainment flight is to not just feed the Airmen who live on base, but also provide options that personnel are excited about and fit the season.”
Jorge Busso, Elkhorn Dining Facility executive chef and manager, gave props to the Airmen and contractors for sacrificing time with their families during the long weekend to come into work with a great attitude.
“It’s not a salt-mine around here,” explained Busso. “For holidays, normally a cookie-cutter day for someone like Daniel is from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. so he still has at least half the day to celebrate and spend time with friends and family.”
There were challenges over the holiday weekend assisting the large number of people quarantined on-base, but that didn’t stop the Elkhorn Airmen from being flexible under pressure.
“We had more than 100 quarantine meals go out to six different squadrons on base, but some of those orders we received within the hour,” said Busso. “The Airmen here were able to think critically and make things happen on the fly.”
This facility is one of the Air Force’s new 2.0 dining operations that is equipped with improved serving capabilities, which allows for the preparation of more sophisticated and healthier meals for Airmen.
“In a legacy kitchen, someone like myself would prepare the food from scratch,” said Daniel. “The 2.0 system allows us to take more to time to learn hands-on with the chefs on how to prepare quality food.”
Chef Busso encourages those living on base to come into the dining facility for the upcoming holidays in December because of the high quality food and great atmosphere.
“We’re going to be serving prime rib with the works, prepared with some next-level cooking and the excitement is going to be there,” Busso said. “We have more than 200 years of contractor experience in the kitchen behind the spatulas and sauté pans and nothing but ready-to-go Airmen.”
For upcoming holiday hours visit the Elkhorn Dining Facility’s website at 341fss.com/elkhorn-dining-facility/ or follow the HeadsUP! Malmstrom Facebook page.