An Air Force chef and a Marine Corps chef, both crowned “Chopped” champions during Jill Biden ‘s appearance on a military-themed episode of the Food Network show, spent Friday whipping up lemon-herb scallops and osso buco in the White House Navy Mess.
Air Force chef Opal Poullard, 37, and Marine Corps chef Dustin Lewis, 34, accepted the mission from the first lady, who made a surprise appearance in a May episode of “Chopped,” as part of her White House initiative to support active duty and retired service members, their families and caregivers.
A panel of judges ruled that the four-person team of military chefs, which included an Army and a Navy cook, had defeated a team of four Food Network celebrity chefs. The first lady congratulated the winners, gave them White House aprons signed by herself and President Joe Biden and invited them to the executive mansion to help cook for the Fourth of July on Tuesday.
The guest chef stint at the White House came as Jill Biden on Friday visited the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina, to help mark the 50th anniversary of the nation’s all-volunteer military, which she and the president will also celebrate on Tuesday.
After returning to the White House, the first lady visited Lewis and Poullard and sampled the food, her office said. She also met with the Navy Mess staff.
Poullard is a Los Angeles native based at Fort Gregg-Adams in Virginia, where she is an advanced culinary instructor. Lewis, who was born in Dayton, Ohio, and is stationed in North Carolina, most recently was executive chef to the Marine Corps commandant. He previously served as the executive chef to Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Lewis’ signature dish was lemon-herb scallops with wild mushroom parmesan risotto and roasted asparagus with white truffle herb oil and charred focaccia. Poullard’s, inspired by her travels to Rome, was braised osso buco, or veal shanks, served with polenta, shaved parmesan, crispy fennel and shallots.
The Navy Mess, located on the lower level of the West Wing of the White House, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for staff. The U.S. Navy’s Presidential Food Service operates the mess’ executive dining rooms and provides carryout and catering services.
Superville reported from Kissimmee, Florida.