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101st Division Sustainment Brigade

Soldier shares passion for Army with national audience

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Soldier shares passion for Army with national audience

Staff Sergeant Samanth Poe, culinary specialist, 619th Quartermaster Field Feeding Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), mixes the ingredients to create brownies from the Army’s Go-For-Green menu Sept. 30 at the Fort Campbell Culinary Lab on post. Poe is being filmed by Jane Cole, producer, and David Mellow, camera crewman, both from First Line Media, in part of the Army’s Satellite Media Tour.

A 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) culinary specialist shared an inside look at her career during a virtual media tour broadcast Oct. 1 around the country to promote the Army and show a unique side of military service jobs not often seen.

Staff Sergeant Samantha Poe, 619th Quartermaster Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, was selected as the spokesperson for an Army Cooking Satellite Media Tour with 22 media outlets. Poe was happy to help highlight the opportunities for culinary specialists in the Army by sharing her passion for what she does as well as the many other unique career opportunities military.

“Being a culinary specialist, being a chef, is about not just your own individual passion for food, but also touching the lives of others and impacting their day with a meal,” Poe said. “It’s powerful, it’s an awesome thing. The fact that I get to be a Soldier as well and work with a great group of people – fellow Soldiers – we’re executing our mission and bringing joy to other Soldiers. There is no other culinary job like this in the world.”

Poe, a native of Houston, Texas, attended college at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated in 2007 with two associate degrees, one in culinary arts and one in baking and pastry arts.

“I worked as a chef in Louisville and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for several years,” Poe said. “I joined the Army after a culmination of several things. I came across culinary specialists while working at several events and learning about all of the opportunities in the culinary field for the military. I also really liked the new, creative direction they were taking in military dining facilities. It’s not really what most civilians expect to see in a military dining facility, there’s fine dining and so much more. I also was really interested in the Military Culinary Olympic Team which competes every four years.”

Poe enlisted in the United States Army Oct. 31, 2011, as a food service specialist.

“For culinary specialists we have basic training and a nine-week training for advanced individual training at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia, where you learn the culinary basic skills,” she said. “I only did five weeks at AIT and focused more on the field training aspect of it due to my prior experience.”

She has been stationed at the Pentagon assigned to the Army Executive Dining Facility and has also served as an enlisted aide to the Army chief of staff. Poe participated in the World Culinary Olympics 2012 while stationed in Germany as a pastry apprentice. She won Armed Forces Chef of the Year in 2015, Army Enlisted Aide of the Year in 2016 and Pastry Best in Show in 2018. As of Aug. 20, Poe works at the Son Café Dining Facility on Fort Campbell.

“I was contacted to participate with the media tour when I was still in Washington, D.C.,” Poe said. “I informed them I was on my way to Fort Campbell and we were able to do the media tour virtually from Fort Campbell. I was very happy to do it, because I accomplished and got to do some pretty amazing things thanks to my military service. I wanted to help highlight the amazing talent the Army has, especially with culinary specialists. It was one day of filming with 22 media outlets, and I wanted to talk about what a great opportunity this is for young people who are struggling to find a way to pay for culinary school.”

There are many different jobs and opportunities for culinary specialists in the Army, she said, including fine dining, working as an enlisted aide or flight steward, competing in competitions across the world and developing niche skills with opportunities to grow.

“This is a way to do what you love and not have to worry about paying school loans or worrying about a job,” Poe said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and get to do a lot of amazing things while serving in the Army. Last year I was the first military service member to compete in the American Culinary Federation pastry chef of the year competition, and I won.”

She also encouraged viewers of the culinary tour to explore other career opportunities the Army has to offer.

“It does require a lot of self-discipline and motivation to build your career, but there are a lot of opportunities out there for you in the Army,” Poe said. “There are so many opportunities for you and different jobs you can work toward to hone your craft.”

To find more about becoming a culinary specialist or to explore more opportunities available in the U.S. Army, visit https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs.html.