By 2nd Lt. Tinashe Machona
Defense Information School
Cita B. Beasley has been a cook at the Freedom Inn dining facility for 22 years, dazzling patrons with her finger-licking meals that keep customers coming for more. Her dream to be a cook surpasses expectations of many patrons.
Beasley, 61, was born in the Philippines where she attended school to be a tailor but later discovered that her passion was cooking. Beasley said that when she was a young girl cooking with her father in Manila, Philippines, she developed her desire to please people through her cooking.
“My husband used to be in the Navy, and service members have a special place in my heart. I enjoy cooking for them because I want to make them happier,” said Beasley. “It puts a smile on my face when my customers keep coming for more. That is the reason why I have been working here for so long.”
Beasley grew up in Manila with her four sisters and later moved to Barcelona, Spain, where she met her husband.
“It was a dream come true when I lived in Spain, but after getting married, I moved to the United States because of my husband’s job,” said Beasley.
She said that moving to the U.S. created a busier lifestyle in comparison to Manila and Barcelona.
FIDF is one of the best, if not the best, dining facility in the nation, said Beasley. In her experience visiting various dining facilities in the U.S., she said she believes the FIDF is “top-notch” because of its strict adherence to hygiene procedures for handling food.
FIDF was the Large Garrison category winner in the 2011 U.S. Army Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Food Service, awarded for operational effectiveness throughout the world.
“Cita is a very good cook who exemplifies what it means to be a working leader who multitasks to get the job gone,” said Willie J. Harmon, FIDF manager. “We were No. 1 in the world when we received the Connelly Award in 2011, and Cita played a big part in that.”
In addition to working at FIDF, Beasley works as a full-time cook for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. Beasley has been described as a “work-a-holic” who helps everyone do his job.
“Cita is a very helpful, nice person and a hard worker,” said Angie R. Vicente, assistant cook at the dining facility.
Vicente added that Beasley is helping her siblings in Manila build a brand new home.
Beasley is also friendly toward the patrons who eat at FIDF. She is proud of the fact that she is on a first-name basis with some of the Defense Information School students on post. She said she enjoys talking to them because she understands that most of the students are far from home and, from time to time, may enjoy a conversation about healthy food and healthy eating.
“I would advise the students to eat a lot of chicken and salad as a healthy habit that will pay off in the long run,” said Beasley. “You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day instead of soda to be hydrated, which helps students be alert in class.”
She said she also encourages students to stay away from fatty foods.
Beasley occasionally supervises other employees, which includes completing paperwork. Her manager describes her as a worker who wears many hats.
Many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have made positive comments about the quality of the food at FIDF.
“The food at the dining facility is refreshing, clean and served to us without delay,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class J. Stokes, a Basic Mass Communication Specialist Course student at DINFOS.
Stokes said he enjoys eating salad and that he has never seen a brown piece of lettuce at the salad bar since he started eating at FIDF.
“Cita is a phenomenal cook who is a big asset because she consistently makes food that tastes and looks good,” said Harmon.