Food Job: Military Chef

Staff Sergeant Guy Winks

Here’s a recent revelation: we have military bases throughout the world, yet in non-combat zones, you don’t have to enlist to get a job as a chef in the officer’s private dining room.

My advice: decide where you would like to live and cook and the Government will pay your fare to get there. Just be sure to check the fine print before you sign up.

Executive chefs in the military have advanced degrees and ACF (American Culinary Federation) certification, but as in all dining facilities, there are many levels of employment, running the gamut from mess hall cooks to military dietitians to aides to generals.

The military chef salary is tax-free and there are end of the year bonuses in addition to the generous benefits.

There are web sites like and armed forces culinary competitions to inspire you and stir your competitive juices.

There is even a Pentagon culinary program, The Grill Sergeants, to aspire to, which is broadcast to troops around the world on the American Forces Network and in the United States. (It should be noted that these grill sergeants are active duty military.)

And there are always hungry troops to feed.

Words from the Wise

And thus begins the long and difficult journey, salted with stress and peppered with passion that is the path of the professional chef. We must constantly learn and evolve. And that, my fellow military chefs, is the true difference between a “chef” and a “cook”.
– Staff Sergeant Guy Winks