Veterans are all too familiar with MREs, but can they transform the military rations into a winning dish?
In celebration of Veterans Day this weekend, the Mall of America is hosting Chef Challenge: a cooking competition for military personnel.
Eight military contestants have been selected to compete. They'll be paired up with MOA chefs to create a dish that incorporates a military staple – the humble Meal, Ready-to-Eat – aka MRE.
Both active and veteran military personnel will be participating in the challenge. The contestants are made up of five men and three women of a variety of ages, a spokeswoman for MOA told GoMN.
The chefs they're paired with work in MOA restaurants including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Café, GameWorks, and Piada Italian Street Food.
According to the contest guidelines, the competition will consist of three rounds. In each round, contestants will be presented with a selection of MRE components – which could include anything from trail mix to a packet of jalapeño cheese spread. They'll have to select at least one to incorporate into their dish.
The competitors won't know what the MRE ingredients are until right before the start of each round. Each team will also get to bring a secret ingredient to the competition.
All eight of the teams will compete in a first round. From there it will be narrowed down to the top four teams, who will compete in a second round. Finally, the top two duos will go head to head in the third and final round.
The winning pair will be crowned Chef Challenge Champions and go home with a Mall of America prize package worth over $500.
Want to watch? It's going down on Saturday, Nov. 11 in the Rotunda. The first round kicks off at noon; the final round will start around 4 p.m.