California native Staff Sgt. Juan Contreras, a Marine with the I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), has always had a passion for cooking. He hopes the food service skills he's picking up in the Marine Corps will help him open a restaurant in San Diego one day.
Contreras has served almost two decades in the Marine Corps, and has completed five combat deployments. He told DVIDS he takes his job as a senior advisor with the food service contact team very seriously:
"Food service is the morale booster out at these (forward operating bases) because if you have bad food, people are going to have bad attitudes. So having a good cook with a good attitude creates a big difference. One thing that I try to do is boost the morale up when I come out to these places.”
Contreras is currently on his final deployment to Afghanistan, and plans to retire next year. He hopes to open his very own restaurant after he leaves the military:
“Three years after my retirement, I plan on opening my own seafood restaurant around the San Diego area. Ten or 15 years down the road, I see myself opening up another one or two restaurants. I’d like to have a least two restaurants with the same name and same menu.”
If that delicious-looking lobster in the photo above is any indication of Contreras's skills, I think he'll have no trouble attracting customers to his restaurants.