189th AW chef places second in state park culinary competition

  • Published
  • By SrA Ian Caple
  • 189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
On February 5th, 2013, SSgt. Jessica Sterlin participated in Arkansas State Parks first annual "Top Chef" competition held at Lake Fort Smith State Park during the annual Food Service Conference.

She was selected by the Ozark Folk Center State Park to head the two-person team consisting of Joe Buckley, Ozark Folk Center State Park superintendent and herself, competing against five other state parks teams.

The teams were presented a mystery ingredient: boneless chicken thigh. They had to create a twoplate dinner entrée in 45 minutes using the mystery ingredient and five items of their choice. With that they made sautéed chicken in an herbed cream sauce on a bed of pasta, parmesan roasted asparagus and fried squash garnished with sliced rosemary and parmesan tomatoes.

Jessica and Joe received 2nd place in the competition and walked away with bragging rights and a chef apron. "I am proud to say that we have one of Arkansas' top chefs cooking for our side," said Col. Steve Eggensperger, 189th Airlift Wing commander. "SSgt. Sterlin is the epitome of the Guard tradition and it is members like her, with her diverse civilian skill sets, that make the guard so adaptable and effective. Congratulations!"

Jessica currently works at The Skillet restaurant located at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View. She has worked there since she was 16 and is now responsible for the training of all new chefs and employees.