NEW YORK – Most New Yorkers probably did not expect to wake up to a bowl of gumbo on a Friday morning. But when Sgt. 1st Class Brad C. Turner Jr. served up this spicy Cajun favorite, it yielded nothing but smiles – and requests for seconds.
This was not the scene inside a local restaurant, but on the set of TV's FOX and Friends.
Turner appeared on the FOX morning show to talk about another show, "The Grill Sergeants." An original Pentagon Channel program, this weekly, half-hour series features top military chefs offering nutrition and safety tips, as well as walking viewers through step-by-step food preparation.
"Discovered" online by FOX staff, the "The Grill Sergeants" generated enough interest with producers to invite Turner on their morning show.
For the New Orleans, La., native, cooking is a labor of love.
"It's the only thing I've wanted to do," said Turner. "(When I joined the Army) I didn't know there was anything else."
Turner received all of his formal training from the Army, but his origins in the kitchen were borne out of necessity.
"My mother worked long hours," he said. "It was either cook or starve until she got home."
"The Grill Sergeants" recruited Turner during his tenure at Fort Lee, where he served as a platoon sergeant and culinary instructor. Although cooking is a passion, Turner admits the experience can sometimes be overwhelming.
It's a pleasure to serve his country while doing something he loves, Turner said, but there is also the responsibility of teaching this skill to others.
"It's not just about having the skill, but having the love for it. The ability to inspire Soldiers is also important. They can look at what I'm doing and say, 'if he's doing that, maybe there's something I could do that would make a difference'," Turner said.
"When not on the set of "The Grill Sergeants", the 19-year veteran serves as executive chef in the Army Executive Dining Facility at the Pentagon.
"The Grill Sergeants" recently completed its third season at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y. It is shown to more than 3 million servicemembers in 178 countries worldwide.