First Choice

Feeding the Marines: Rich’s Helps Combat Culinary Challenges and Inspire Creativity

The men and women of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) are recognized worldwide for their drive for excellence, self-discipline and intense training. In an effort to excel at everything they do, the Corps’ elite training program extends beyond the air, land and sea battlegrounds, and into the kitchens that feed the Marines. Through years of trusted partnership, Rich’s has earned the privilege of training the military’s food service specialists. Chef Deanna Day, Rich’s Culinary Manager – Non-Commercial, recently completed another regional training event covering three bases of the USMC-West.

“We had our most successful training week to date,” said Donovan Brown, Regional Executive Chef, USMC-West. “My job is to serve restaurant quality food in all our military mess halls on the West coast and Rich’s quality products and superior culinary support makes my job easier. Chef Deanna’s care about doing things right is a welcome relief. She is proud of Rich’s product line and it honestly shows. And, she has the ability to relate and hold the attention of military and civilian cooks which can be very challenging.”

Brown has been an Executive Chef for the USMC for over eight years, supporting more than 18 USMC mess halls. Any one of his mess halls can serve as many as 10,000 meals per day. Each military kitchen experiences the same strains and challenges of traditional commercial and non-commercial kitchens: limited time, inadequate space and varying degrees of culinary skill.

“There are a certain percentage of crew members who were assigned to culinary duty because they want to be, and there are others who have no experience, no knowledge and no interest in a culinary career,” said Day. “Therefore, the training we offer our military partners is designed to engage the cooks and expand upon their varied culinary skills and knowledge.”

Day’s intensive two-day training course combines technical knowledge and hands-on skill development. In the classroom, Day sheds light on the science of baking, focusing on the properties and performance of yeast dough.

“Once we get into the kitchen, everyone is engaged, regardless of their background or interest,” said Day. “When given the opportunity and time to experiment with the dough and see how it reacts, the chefs are always inspired and excited by the possibilities presented by a simple ball of dough.”

Sharing years of culinary expertise and trend insight, Day shows the Marines multiple menu applications using one or two varieties of Rich’s Proof & Bake doughs found in the mess hall freezer.

“They don’t need a freezer full of different products,” remarked Day. “Rich’s dough is so versatile that with a bit of knowledge and skill it can be the base of countless dishes and carrier to a world of flavors.”

Trend-inspired menus and complex flavor profiles are just what mess halls have to produce to draw Marines in for a meal. With various dining options on bases and ships, including popular commercial outlets, the mess halls face strong competition for Marines’ attention and business. Chef Brown wants Marines to make their way into the mess hall where his kitchen crews can provide the hardworking servicemen and servicewomen with the flavorful, and nutritious meals they need to carry-out their duties.

“There’s very little time for creativity or experimenting in a military kitchen,” said Day. “The Marines have to prepare, cook and serve meals for a large number of people very quickly. My job is to show the Marines how to maximize our products’ potential to create meals that are both nourishing and delicious.”

Delivering hands-on training, sharing valuable trend insight and recipe ideas, and offering innovative solutions are the foundations of Rich’s customer-focused business model, and continue to set the company apart from the competition.

“Rich’s is about so much more than just great products. We want to understand our customers’ business and help them find success,” said Day. “Our experienced team of world-class chefs spend their days working with operators, and our customers are always surprised by how much working culinary knowledge we can share with their team and how easily they can apply that knowledge to make their business stronger.”