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Culinary Students making food for the MRE Challenge
Culinary students plating their food for the MRE Challenge

GNBVT Culinary Students standing by their final products for the MRE Challenge

On January 28th 2022, three sophomore culinary arts students, accompanied by Chef Bousquet, travelled to the National Guard Armory in Natick, Massachusetts. The SkillsUSA challenge was to reimagine MREs. MREs are Meals Ready to Eat which are survival-style anaerobic, low moisture, long storage, pre-packaged nutrition used by the military when participating in field training exercises. No electric equipment or heat sources can be used. All heat must be generated with the enclosed MRE heaters, which are simple chemical heaters activated by water. The task is to use the 6 packages of MRE meals to create a new meal for two soldiers using the ingredients provided. Our local recruiter, Sargent Thomas Abreu from the National Guard, was kind enough to provide our team with a case of MRE’s to use for practice. The students had 90 minutes to re-think, prepare, and attractively plate two beverages, two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts using only what was provided and some simple tools, like: knives, spatulas and bowls. Unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to score in the top four prize categories. However, the sophomores felt accomplished when they discovered they were the youngest team present. The team expressed their desire to compete in this challenge again next year. We are excited for next year’s SkillsUSA MRE Challenge!

Culinary Footer for the MRE Challenge with image symbols of pots and pans