News>Two Seasons Dining Facility step up to the plate during RF-A
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexis Merin, 354th Force Support Squadron shift worker, prepares flight meals with a tray of chicken at the Two Seasons Dining Facility during RED FLAG-Alaska 14-2, June 23, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During RF-A, Merin prepares a minimum of 350 flight meals for lunch daily. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
Rabiab Gabow, 354th Force Support Squadron contracted cook, prepares salads prior to the lunch rush during RED FLAG-Alaska 14-2 at the Two Seasons Dining Facility June 23, 2013, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Gadow makes anywhere between 500 to 1,000 salads daily for military members from other bases and countries during RF-A. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tavon Pizarro, 354th Force Support Squadron shift worker, prepares veal parmesan prior to the lunch rush at the Two Seasons Dining Facility during RED FLAG-Alaska 14-2 June 23, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Since the start of RF-A 14-2, the DFAC cooks over six times more meals than normal, with about 5,300 people served daily. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexis Merin, 354th Force Support Squadron shift worker documents flight meals for different units to pick up at the Two Seasons Dining Facility during RED Flag-Alaska 14-2, June 23, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Daily, Merin prepared a minimum of 350 flight meals for fliers and people working during the scheduled eating times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Hancock, 125th Force Support Squadron shift supervisor, Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonville, Fla., chops onions in preparation for lunch at the Two Seasons Dining Facility during RED FLAG-Alaska 14-2 June 20, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Due to the increased operations tempo, augmentees from other units assist shift workers to get the food out on time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/26/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- RED FLAG-Alaska brings people from all over the world, giving Eielson a real challenge in continuing to provide the best service possible.
Food is, of course, one amenity that everyone needs a taste of, and the Two Seasons Dining Facility strives to feed so many mouths without compromising the quality of food during RF-A.
"With the increased population, we have to feed more people, which requires more prep time and more staff," said Tech Sgt. Ronald Cooper, 354th Force Support Squadron assistant dining facility manager. "Also, with more flyers comes more flight meals, and to put out a meal and make 200 plus flight meals daily is a very difficult task."
Despite the large numbers, the DFAC keeps a tight schedule and recruits assistance to accomplish feeding over 5,300 people daily.
"Shifts during RED FLAG are on a panama schedule, so they arrive to work at 6 a.m. and breakfast is in full swing until 8 a.m. when they get a quick rest before lunch prep starts," said Cooper. "They cook in much larger batches while taking flight meal orders. At 2 p.m. the meal period ends and dinner prep starts right away. If we didn't receive augmentees from other units we would struggle."
From the 1,000 boxed salads made daily to six times more servings of food than usual, the DFAC strives for the greatest quality of food while getting it served on time.
"We get a lot of military members from other bases and countries and if we deliver poor quality food, they will leave here unsatisfied," said Cooper. "They also fill out RED FLAG critiques and I would rather hear a good comment about the facility, so we try our best to provide the highest quality of food within our power."
Customers confirmed that the DFAC can in fact dish out a good plate of food.
"I think the cookies and the chicken cordon bleu are amazing," said Senior Airman Mike Moore, 51st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament specialist assigned to Osan Air Base, South Korea. "I haven't had to wait at all when grabbing food and I think the DFAC here tries very hard to put out the best food they can."
DFAC workers put a lot of effort into every meal, and remain positive in the process.
"My favorite part of Red Flag is the teamwork that goes on. Customers don't see what we do back here that allows each meal to go on, but it's a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication" said Edgar Adkins, 354th FSS food shift worker. "It all pays off as long as the customer is satisfied; that makes it all worth it."
The DFAC team has two more RED FLAGS to push through this year, but remain resilient to the changing crowds.
"RED FLAGS are tough and we are pushed to our limits, but still maintain cool heads. The minute you lose control of a situation is the minute you have lost the battle," said Cooper. "With new customers comes trying times, but with every new turn we adapt and overcome. Nothing can stop my team of the hardest working Airmen I have ever had the opportunity to lead."