Cookin’ with Coasties: FS3 Victor De La Mora

Cookin’ with Coasties is a series that features food specialists stationed at Coast Guard units throughout Alaska, and recipes to their favorite meals they prepare for their crews.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Victor De La Mora serves meals aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory in Homer, Alaska, Oct. 23, 2014. De La Mora, a food service specialist aboard the Hickory, was inspired to cook by his family. U.S. Coast Guard photo provided by CGC Hickory.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Victor De La Mora serves meals aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory in Homer, Alaska, Oct. 23, 2014. De La Mora, a food service specialist aboard the Hickory, was inspired to cook by his family. U.S. Coast Guard photo provided by CGC Hickory.

A stint in Alaska is like a rite of passage for many Coast Guard members and one of the latest to experience its challenges is Petty Officer 3rd Class Victor De La Mora, a food service specialist aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory, homeported in Homer.

De La Mora grew up in Florence, Ore., a small coastal city along U.S. Route 101 and home to Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River, where his parents tend their own restaurant. It was there he first learned his way around a kitchen.

“My inspiration for cooking is my mother and grandmother,” said De La Mora. “My mother always strives to have the best and cleanest kitchen. She’s a self taught chef since she never went to culinary school, and she gained most of her experience by her mother and by the different restaurants she worked in. Both my mother and grandmother put love into the dish they produce and that’s what inspired me to be in the culinary industry.”

De La Mora became a Coast Guard food service specialist in order to travel and gain exposure to cooking styles outside of those he saw in Florence, but the Mexican recipes he learned from his family are still his favorite.

“My favorite dish has to be my mother’s huarache plate,” De La Mora said. “I would order the huarache plate almost every time I ate at the family restaurant, and Mexican cuisine is probably the type I excel at the most.”

De La Mora is still early into his career with the Coast Guard but, if he chooses to stay in for the long haul, he’d like to try out for the Coast Guard culinary competition team. The Coast Guard culinary competition team provides high-performing food service specialists the opportunity to compete in culinary competitions, most notably at the two-week-long culinary arts competition at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, VA.

“I like how, even when you have the same ingredients every day, you can always play around with the seasonings, cooking methods and plating to spice up the meal,” said De La Mora. “As a food service specialist, you help with the crew’s morale. Your fellow shipmates see you first thing in the morning as they are coming through the serving line and, with a great meal and a friendly smile, you can help improve their day.”

Though De La Mora may eventually decide to leave the Coast Guard, until then he’ll have an opportunity to receive specialty instruction like dining facility finance and management and advanced culinary skills training to help him open a restaurant of his own someday. Whatever his future, De La Mora will be able to look back proudly on his time in the Last Frontier.

FS3 De La Mora’s Huarache Plate (just like mom used to make) U.S. Coast Guard photo provided by CGC Hickory.

FS3 De La Mora’s Huarache Plate (just like mom used to make) U.S. Coast Guard photo provided by CGC Hickory.

Huarache Plate

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast 8oz

Flank Steak 8oz

Chorizo 4oz

1/2 a Bell Pepper

4 Mushrooms

1/2 an Onion

1 Tomato

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Granulated Garlic to taste

Shredded Jack Cheese

Canola Oil

Garnish Shredded Lettuce and Dice Tomatoes.

1. Dice the Chicken and Beef, and season with salt, pepper, and granulated Garlic.

2. Dice the onion, tomato, bell pepper, and slice the mushrooms.

3. Turn the griddle on to 350F and cook the chicken and beef with a little of canola oil.

4. Once chicken and beef is mostly cooked (Aprox. 3-4 minutes) add the diced vegetables, mushrooms, and chorizo and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

5. The plate the huarache on a plate and add shredded jack cheese on top and toss in the oven at 350F until the cheese is melted.

6.To garnish the plate add shredded lettuce and diced tomato on the lettuce.

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