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Pentagon Channel’s ‘Grill Sergeants’ Becomes Hot iTunes Commodity

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2008 – If one of the Pentagon Channel’s newest programs was a hot Apple iTunes download before, it’ll be on fire in the near future.

The company recently named “The Grill Sergeants” one of its top 25 videos of the year. It’s currently ranked as No. 13.

“We were pretty excited. Obviously, it’s great to get recognition for your programming,” said Michael Winneker, the Pentagon Channel’s distribution and marketing manager. “We always know around here that it’s good, … but it’s kind of nice to hear from other listeners or viewers that the programming is good and people are interested in it.”

Apple iTunes divides its podcasts into categories. “The Grill Sergeants” is found in the “Government and Organizations” section, where it usually enjoys a Top 5 placement.

Winneker attributes the iTunes accolades to a current interest in both cooking shows and the military.

“I think people, traditionally, when they think of military cooking they think of the chow hall and someone with an ice cream scooper of mashed potatoes and they’re slamming it down on the tray,” he said. “I think this show proves that we do have some great military chefs out there, and some great food and great recipes that anyone can pick up.”

“The Grill Sergeants,” which is five episodes into its second season, is hosted by Army Sgt. 1st Class Brad Turner, a New Orleans native.

An aficionado of many cuisines, Turner was chosen as an apprentice to the U.S. Army Culinary Team while stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga. Later, he apprenticed with German master chef Hans Bauer in Amberg, Germany.

After being reassigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, Turner helped to establish the Fort Bliss Culinary Program.

But it’s not only Turner’s pots and pans that have put him in the spotlight. It seems he’s got a set of pipes, too. The chef loves to sing while he cooks, and even won the title of 2007 Fort Lee (Va.) Military Idol.

Turner now is stationed at Camp Stanley, South Korea, where he serves as the dining facility manager at the Stanley Gardens Restaurant. The father of seven says his motto is “Share your love, share your food.”

“The Grill Sergeants” airs on the Pentagon Channel at noon EST on Mondays. Past episodes are available for download from the Pentagon Channel’s Web site, as well as iTunes. The Pentagon Channel also makes available for download podcasts of 16 other programs and 10 audio podcasts, all of which are free, Winneker said.

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