Recipe for Success: FS1 Mason Champlin

Throughout the year, we’re featuring food service specialists in the Coast Guard. Each profile will come with a recipe so let us know if you want to see a particular recipe in the comments below. Enjoy this “recipe for success” and bon appétit!

Written by Lt. j.g. Katie Braynard

Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Champlin in the galley onboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Champlin in the galley onboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

When you ask someone what he or she enjoys most about being in the Coast Guard, the answer isn’t usually creativity.

But for Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Champlin, it’s the creative freedom that he loves most about his job in the Coast Guard.

Champlin, a food service specialist serving aboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, has always loved to cook. Before joining the Coast Guard, he attended Le Cordon Bleu Chicago and began cooking professionally soon after.

But soon enough, Champlin tired of cooking the same menu items day in and day out, so when he learned about the Coast Guard’s food service specialist rating from a friend, it seemed like the best way to continue doing what he loved with a bit more flexibility.

“As FS’s in the Coast Guard, we have more creative freedom on a daily basis than you would in any restaurant,” he said.

And his philosophy? Making everything from scratch and purchasing local and sustainable food.

“When it comes to the culinary industry, it doesn’t matter how skilled a person is,” he said. “You can’t make really good food from really poor ingredients.”

Champlin said that buying produce and meat from local industries as much as cutter operations allow helps support the local economy where he is stationed.

“Purchasing from local vendors is something I really believe in,” he added.

And aside from the creative freedom, Champlin also loves being a part of a diverse team with diverse backgrounds because each one brings something to the table.

“Everyone brings their own style into the workplace,” he said. “For instance here, we have four different people with four different backgrounds from four different places in the United States.”

In addition to Champlin, the crew enjoys the fact that the galley takes advantage of the ability to have creative freedoms.

“We are all extremely fortunate to have such a high quality galley onboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock,” Lt. j.g. Kent Hunt, operations officer aboard Hollyhock, said. “They creatively orchestrate a variety of high quality menu items which keep us well fed and always looking to see what they will be serving next.”

Champlin appreciates the crew of Hollyhock for supporting the menus and creative freedom of the galley staff, and also recognizes the hard work of his staff for making the galley a success.

“A lot of credit should be given to the junior members of our rating, because they’re the ones cooking in the galley for 20 hours a day,” he said.

Crab cakes, mustard-crsted fillet mignon and toasted dijon herb garlin gnocchi, as prepared by Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Champlin. Photo courtesy of Mason Champlin.

Crab cakes, mustard-crsted fillet mignon and toasted dijon herb garlin gnocchi, as prepared by Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Champlin. Photo courtesy of Mason Champlin.

Below, Petty Officer Champlin shares three recipes that come together as a fabulous meal for entertaining!

Crab Cakes
(serves 10, 3.5oz. portions)

2lb Lump Blue Crab Meat
2 Fresh Jalapenos (seeded and minced)
½ Red Bell Pepper (brunoise cut)
½ Red Onion (brunoise cut)
2 Stalks Celery (brunoise cut)
6 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1TBSP Clarified Butter
½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3 Egg Yolks
1TBSP Whole Grain Mustard
1tsp Fresh Dill (minced)
Salt and Pepper (to Taste)

1. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat. Once melted sauté jalapenos, bell peppers, red onions, and celery until slightly opaque (about 4 minutes). Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add panko bread crumbs and cook over medium heat occasionally stirring until crumbs are golden brown and toasted (about ten minutes). Remove from heat and stir in mustard and dill.
2. Remove crab meat from cans and wring out excess liquid. Set in a medium mixing bowl. Add bread crumb mixture to crab meat. Mix thoroughly and add seasonings (taste and adjust seasoning before adding egg yolks). Stir in egg yolks and then form into 3.5 ounce cakes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Mustard Crusted Fillet Mignon
(serves 20, 3oz. portions)

1 Whole untrimmed Choice Beef Tenderloin
3 TBSP Mustard Seeds (coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle)
Salt and Pepper (To Taste)

1. Remove all fat and silver skin from tenderloin. Reserve the Chateau Briand and Chain for other dishes. Cut into seven to ten equal size (by weight) steaks.
2. Pat coarsely ground mustard on both sides of steaks and season with salt and pepper. Sear steaks over an open flame grill, then finish to medium rare in a 375 degree oven. Allow 10 minutes to rest on a clean cutting board, then slice into 1oz. strips.

Toasted Dijon Herb Gnocchi
(Serves 10, 5oz. portions)

9 Medium Russet Potatoes (scrubbed)
5 Egg Yolks
1 ½ – 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1TBSP Parley (minced)
1tsp Thyme (minced)
1tsp Rosemary (minced)
1Gallon Boiling Water (salted)
1 Red Onion (julienne cut)
1TBSP Olive Oil
2 Cups 2% Milk
1TBSP Dijon Mustard
1TBSP Tarragon (chopped)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1. Bake potatoes until soft and tender. Once cooled cut in half and scoop the potatoes from the jackets (reserve jackets for roasted potato skins). Press the potatoes through a ricer. Once at room temperature stir in egg yolks, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and rosemary and mix until completely incorporated.
2. Heavily dust your counter with flour and place potato mixture on it. Continuously kneed in more flour until and soft yet slightly sticky dough has formed. Create 4 or 5 equal portions and roll into ½” diameter logs. Cut ¾-inch pieces and press with the back side of a fork to create shallow reservoirs used to help hold the sauce. Once you have made all of the dough into dumplings place in freezer for about 45 minutes.
3. Add dumplings to boiling water and cook until they float. Remove from the water and set aside. Heat olive oil in a Brazier and sauté onions until slightly opaque, add gnocchi and toast until slightly golden brown. Pour in milk and cook for about 10 minutes, until sauce coats the back of a tasting spoon. Stir in remaining herbs, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

Tags: , , , , , ,