Fort Bliss, TX — Mother, chef, Soldier. Three challenges to be faced and mastered. Many may strive to overcome the challenge one or two of these would present in their lives. For Sgt. Marysol Carrera, a Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and a single mother of two, these three challenges have lead her to a career in the Army as a food service specialist and one of 10 members of the Fort Bliss culinary arts team.
Carrera, a Florida native, has a passion for food. Coming from a family where food was an important part of social gatherings, she said becoming an Army food service specialist or 92G was a way to give back to the country she is proud of, as well as doing something she loves.
“The sense of pride that my family has for this country is huge,” said Carrera. “What better way to serve than to do something I really enjoy.”
As the daughter of an Air Force service member, the military has always been an important part of her life growing up in Tyndall and Homestead Air Force bases. Carrera would have followed her father’s lead by enlisting in the Air Force, but at the time she made her decision to serve, the Army held better opportunities for her.
She looked at many different military jobs, finally deciding on 92G after reviewing the career opportunities the job presented. With the chance to serve at the White House or Pentagon, food service was the one that appealed to her the most.
Some three years have passed since Carrera made the decision to serve. She has taken to her career choice with gusto, bringing her passion for food to the field. She has been a part of two Conley Cup competitions, which determine the best dining facility in the Army. She won two gold and one silver medals at the 2012 Fort Bliss Thanksgiving culinary arts competition for her pastries, her area of specialty.
All of Carrera’s hard work has paid off, as she was recently selected to be part of the Fort Bliss Culinary Team, which will compete in March at the Army-wide culinary arts competition at Fort Lee, Va.
“I am privileged to represent Four-One and I think that all the hard work pays off in the long run,” Carrera said.
The competition will also take Carrera away from Fort Bliss and her family for several weeks. She knows that even though she may be away, her children are her biggest supporters.
“I would not be here today if it weren’t for them,” Carrera said. “They motivate me.”
Carrera and her older son spend time watching cooking shows on television. She said that her son sometimes talks about joining the military to cook for the troops.
Carrera is excited about the upcoming competition and likes the chances of the Fort Bliss team. Even though they come from different units on post, Carrera said the team is coming together well.
At the world-wide competition, Carrera will be submitting dishes in three individual categories, her Chicken Chasseur in the savory category and a three tiered wedding cake. She said her toughest obstacle is the dessert challenge, where she will be required to create six unique desserts for judging. She knows it will be difficult, but it is something she is ready for.
“We don’t compete against the other installations, we compete against ourselves and the standard,” Carrera said.
Most people agree food service specialists are some of the hardest working in the military. They work holidays to keep dining facilities open, while their comrades get time off.
Carrera is one of these individuals who is also looked up as a role model and leader by her peers and children.
Mother. Chef. Soldier.