EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) _ No T-shirted ''Cookies'' ladling out globs of chow from deep metal containers at this Air Force base. Under the tutelage of Chef Omar Assem, base cooks are learning ice carving, how to whip up gourmet sauces, and how to put on a luau.

Those skills aren't usually associated with military cooks, noted heads of the project in which Air Force cooks are working at a nearby resort hotel.

''We are trying to get away from the mess hall, chow hall, Beetle Bailey kind of things,'' said Lt. Col. Tom Kase, chief of Eglin's Services Division. His unit includes the base's ''dining halls,'' as they are officially called.

Various bases in the Air Force have conducted similar programs over the years. The one at Eglin began in August with one cook at a time working for six weeks each at the Ramada Beach Hotel, where Assem is the executive chef.

One skill the Air Force cooks are learning is ''merchandising food'' by making it look, smell and taste more appealing, Kase said.

''If you've got a bunch of complaining troops, then you have bad morale,'' Kase said.

The Air Force doesn't pay anything for the lessons and the hotel cannot use the military cooks to displace any civilian employees, Kase said. The Ramada management is doing it ''really more out of the goodness of their hearts,'' he said.

---

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - A detergent similar to those that remove gravy stains from clothes or clean dishes may become a key ingredient in a new shark repellent, a Hebrew University professor said Tuesday.

Professor Eliahu Zlotkin of the university's Life Sciences Institute made the discovery accidentally when he and another professor were doing research on Red Sea flatfish.

The fish, anathema to sharks, excrete a substance called pardaxin which scientists from Florida's Miami University had discovered wards off those occasional man-eaters.

''Because that secretion is similar to ordinary detergents, I reasoned that detergents might also be used to keep sharks away,'' Zlotkin told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

He tested his theory in Miami and found that two of the 14 commercial detergents tried held the dreaded sea creatures at bay.

Zlotkin's discovery may be of little practical use here.

''Only one person has been attacked (by a shark) here in the last 10 years - a tourist who swam out to a ship lying at anchor,'' said Professor Lev Fishelson of Tel Aviv University's zoology department.