What's Cooking? Featuring Gunnery Sgt. Delchan Frye

Bravo Company

Marine Corps Installations East

Length of Service: 14 years

Hometown: Warren, Ohio

What do you like most about cooking?
“I like to see smiles on people’s faces. I like to cook for comfort. I like to entertain, and cooking really helps that. It helps people get to know each other. It’s a connection. People talk about what their family cooks and what they love. It’s a connection for people. That’s why people like to meet at restaurants. Food is a connection. It’s a connection to our past. It’s a connection to our family or to even meeting new people. That’s what I like about cooking and that’s what I like about food. We may not know anything about each other, but if you put a plate in front of us, we’ll discuss what we love about it, what we hate about it and the different foods we like.”

What influenced you to become a chef in the Marine Corps?
“I’ve always known I wanted to cook since my grandmother and my mother had me in the kitchen. I used to watch the TV news, and they had this person, Mr. Food, and I would always look. He would do all this cooking, and I would always be ‘that looks so cool.’ I loved his catch phrase — ‘oh it’s so good.’ That always stuck with me that that’s what I was going to do.”“I had a grandfather who I never got to meet in the Vietnam War, and he was in the Marine Corps. So, when I was in high school, I was going to go to the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, but I just so happened to talk to a recruiter, and he was a cook in the Marine Corps, and he just told me that I could do both. I always knew if I was going to go in the military it would be the Marine Corps because of my grandfather. He (the recruiter) just put the two worlds together, and I said ‘let’s do this.’”

What is your favorite type of dish to make?
“That’s the one thing chefs just hate. People are always asking, ‘hey, what’s your favorite thing to cook?’ I love cooking so it doesn’t matter, but I guess it would have to be a four cheese baked macaroni and cheese. My wife always asks me to make it. A lot of people always ask me to make it.”“My mother, she has her lovely, delicious recipe for baked mac and cheese, and I love mac and cheese. If you want to serve me anything, serve me baked beans and baked mac and cheese, and you’ve got me. That’s all I need. I’m a simple man.”

 What do you like most about the recipe your providing?
“It’s very versatile. You can make the baked mac and cheese or you can turn it into fritters if you want. It’s just a great taste. It has that full, satisfying mouth feel to it. The ingredients and once you cook it, it almost makes it seem like it’s going to be so heavy and so rich, but once you take a bite, it’s not as heavy as you think it would be.”

 What’s one thing we amateur cooks need to know?
“A recipe is just a base. You can deviate from it. It’s just a foundation. Think of it as a suggestion. Think of it as a painting canvas. You can do whatever you want with it. You can substitute, you can add, you can take out whatever you want, and just have fun with it.”

 What’s one thing everyone should have in their kitchen?
“You should have a good, sharp knife, a cutting board, a spoon so you can taste and a spatula, and then just get in there and have some fun. If anything, a chef without a good knife is a sad chef.”

 Is there anything you would like to add?
“Thank you to my wife KaSundra for letting me use her as a test subject, and thank you to the enlisted aide program. If you have a serious love for cooking, you can really hone your skills within this program. I’ve been able to go to the Culinary Institute of America to get my pro chef level I certification. I’ve been able to go to the Advanced Culinary School in Fort Lee, Va. There’s just a lot I’ve been able to do to hone my skills with cooking, which I love.”

Four-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients (Serves twelve)

1/3 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup butter1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 pound elbow noodles5 ounce shredded cheddar cheese
1 onion5 ounce Swiss cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove3 ounce smoked Gouda cheese
1 quart heavy cream 1/4 pound bacon 
 1. Pre-heat oven on 350. Fill a pot with water and put it on high heat and wait for the water to boil. While you’re waiting for the water, chop your onion and garlic to a small dice. Once the water starts boiling add your noodles.
 2. Once you’re done chopping your onions and garlic, on medium heat, sauté the onions until translucent with the butter then add garlic cook an additional minute. Then add flour and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Check your noodles, if done strain and set aside.
 3. Add heavy cream and broth to onion mixture and let simmer until it reduces by half and you no longer taste flour.
 4. While the sauce simmers, dice bacon and sauté then set aside. Once the sauce has reduced, add cheese while constantly stirring until cheese is melted and well blended.
 5. Once sauce is done, add to noodles in mix. Place in casserole dish, sprinkle bacon on top & place in oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.