BÖBLINGEN, Germany – When she took home second place in the chili cooking competition and first place in the dessert category at an organization day event recently, many people were surprised to learn that her two winning entries were vegans.
Sebastian Mann is a foodservice specialist at the Logistics Preparedness Center in Stuttgart. In his day job, he and a small team of Army civilians, soldiers and local national employees prepare meals at the Originals Café warrior restaurant located in the Panzer Kaserne, feeding about 150 people a day.
But Mann has a secret. Like the secret he kept from the people who judged his chili and dessert from him on organization day, Mann’s working secret is vegan cooking, and it’s always delicious and extremely healthy, he said.
“There are multiple benefits,” said Mann, who has a culinary arts degree from Stratford University in Washington, DC “From my personal experience and talking to others who have transitioned to veganism, you feel less fatigued. You have more energy during the day and more endurance during exercise. After exercising, your muscles recover much faster and your sleep cycle is much better.
Mann, who started working at LRC Stuttgart in November 2021, spent half of his childhood as an army clerk in Germany, he said. His father is a retired Army Sergeant Major who was stationed in Germany for many years.
“I personally feel much more comfortable here since I grew up here. I think it’s more my home than anywhere else in the United States,” Mann said. “I originally joined the army so I could save money and go back to Germany, but I ended up lucky and got Germany as my first duty station.”
“Everything worked perfectly,” said Mann, who was a soldier working at Originals Café in Panzer as a food service specialist from 2016 to 2019.
And when his Army enlistment ended, he stayed. He worked in the bowling alley at Panzer Kaserne for a year, then worked in accommodation at Panzer for another before accepting a permanent Army civil service position with the LRC Stuttgart of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade.
And he doesn’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon, he said. His almost 2-year-old daughter and his German-Italian girlfriend live with him in Stuttgart.
“My girlfriend is vegan and my daughter is also vegan. She is healthy and thriving, and her doctors are very supportive,” Mann said. “It’s fun to do with the family, getting everyone involved.”
For Mann, eating healthy and cooking at home has always been a family affair.
“Being involved in food has always felt very natural to me,” Mann said. “Growing up, I was always in the kitchen helping my mom and grandma. In my family it was a big thing. You learn to cook before you learn to drive.”
“A lot of people don’t know much about the plant-based lifestyle, so I like to cook different vegan meals and show the benefits,” said the 27-year-old culinary expert. “For me it’s about helping to break stereotypes. I want people to be more aware of what they eat and more involved in making their own meals.”
“There is a certain satisfaction in doing it yourself. And when it’s plant-based, it’s very nutritious and everyone enjoys it, it just makes it even better,” he added.
“I love the excitement and shock on people’s faces when I do something for them and they love it,” Mann said. “On organization day, my chili bowl was the first to go empty, which made me feel great. I also made a fancy vegan cake, which I learned in culinary school, and that surprised everyone. Seeing the faces of people taking the first bite and then saying ‘wait a minute, is this vegan?’ – makes my heart happy.”
“I cook a lot of vegan and plant-based cuisine. For me, it’s a stress reliever, it’s good and it’s easy,” Mann said. “Especially for soldiers, vegan options make sense.”
“A lot of them go to the gym and work out and do things to make sure they’re fit and healthy,” Mann said. “I think it’s beneficial for them to try more vegan options and promote cleaner eating.”
“There are a lot of clean plant-based proteins out there. There are many vegan meal plans for weight loss, maintenance or bulking up. It all depends. Vegan is fully customizable. There is a recipe or meal plan for everything and everyone,” she said.
Mann said the LRC Stuttgart team does a great job, overall, and is very important to the US Army Garrison Stuttgart community.
“LRC Stuttgart reaches out to the entire community from one side to the other. I have seen firsthand how LRC Stuttgart supports this community, and it is amazing,” he said.
LRC Stuttgart is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th AFSB. LRCs run facility logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, transportation, and foodservice management, as well as apparel delivery facility operations, hazardous materials management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, and the management of non-tactical vehicles and garrison equipment. When it comes to providing daily installation services, LRC Stuttgart directs, manages, and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of USAG Stuttgart.
The Stuttgart LRC reports to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to the US Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, US Army Europe and Africa . The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel business support to US forces throughout Europe and Africa, providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronize acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the US Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information about the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.
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|STUTTGART, BW, DE
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