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USS Estocin Mess Management Specialists Prepare to be South American Ambassadors

By Lt. Tom Armstrong
Supply Officer, USS Estocin 

I never miss a chance to show off my ship. I received a call one day from the local Bestfoods representative. Some of their management team members were in Norfolk for the Navy Food Management Team Food Fair and wanted to visit some ships. I gave a group of four the nickel tour the following day and then had a little time to chat. "Is there anything we can do for you?" they asked. Always an opportunist, I stated that I had been looking for a chef to provide hands- on training to my mess management specialists but didnít have any takers yet. I went on to explain that Estocin was heading for Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for some high visibility port visits that included receptions. It was my great fortune to find that one of the members of the group was Chef Nydia DeCristofaro. Chef Nydia had extensive knowledge of both the cuisine and culture of South America and eagerly offered to provide the training for which we were looking.

Chef Nydia arrived early on March 9th with her rental car filled with pots, pans, sauces, spices, and vegetables. She set to work immediately, instructing MS2 Brian Jackson, MS2 Herman Miller, MS3 Tony Haynes, MS3 David Dankert, MS3 Luis Quinones, and MSSN Brad Fennel in the finer points of food preparation. Exotic dishes with equally exotic names began to appear. In various steam kettles were Moqueca de Candido, Xinxim, plantos and Feijoada. The best part was at 1 p.m. that day when the mess line opened to a South American feast. Over 100 Estocin Sailors sampled the cuisine to the delight of all. Desserts were equally plentiful, making the decision which to choose difficult. (I solved the dilemma by trying them all).

As Estocin was departing the following Monday for Unitas 41-00, Chef Nydia worked the weekend to develop the recipes and shopping lists needed for the Brazilian receptions based upon the menu decided upon by MSCS Ralph Hardie, Chef Nydia, and me. She then faxed everything to us prior to sailing, guaranteeing Estocinís success as ambassadors in South America. Estocin extends a hearty "Bravo Zulu" to Chef Nydia DeCristofaro!

USS Estocin (FFG-15) is commanded by Cmdr. Robert E. Oldani.

Photos:  Chef Nydia DeCristofaro, top and bottom, provided information on cuisine and culture for South America.  Center photo shows an Estocin MS  putting the knowledge to work.

Lt. Tom Armstrong has been aboard Estocin as the Supply Officer for 15 months. His previous tours were FISC Pearl Harbor, USS Inchon (LPH 12) and Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 74.

Article is from the May/June edition of the Supply Corps Newsletter.

July 2000

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