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USS Harry S. Truman's 2nd Annual Food Show Extravaganza

By MSCS (SW) Kevin Blade
Leading Chief Petty Officer, Food Service Division, USS Harry S. Truman

The heart and soul of all Navy ships are the people who man her rails. USS Harry S. Truman could only make the transition from a hull of steel and installed weapon systems to her current operational status when the crew officially moved aboard. The Annual Food Show Extravaganza commemorates Jan. 12, 1998, "Crew Move Aboard" date. On that day the Galley, Wardroom and Chiefís Mess served the first meals and the crew enjoyed a much-anticipated Surf & Turf meal. This plank- owner event was positively received and it easily became an annual tradition.

Trumanís Food Service Officer, CWO4 Leon Cole states, "In 1999 we decided to make the "Crew Move Aboard" date a special day to remember and decided to combine the event with the opportunity for the Food Services Divisions to really put on a show." All of the Food Service vendors that supplied Truman with its stores during the past year were invited to see the presentation of their food items and take part in the anniversary celebration. The event was a huge success and clearly set the stage for years to come. Soon after the event, many of the vendors stated that they would like to play a larger role in the future. The Food Show was so well received that the very next month Truman mess management specialists began planning for the 2000 Food Show Extravaganza.

As the year progressed and time was nearing to start ordering food, many of the vendors further supported the show by donating about 40 percent of the menu items that were prepared and presented by the shipís talented mess management specialists.

In addition to the anniversary celebration, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was recognized and the date of Jan. 21, 2000, was the date chosen to celebrate both. Once again the Truman Team had to make it bigger and better than the previous year and decided to invite additional vendors, fellow food service officers, leading MSs, and any MS that wanted to learn more about how the Truman Team operates. In all, about 100 of our shipmates from other commands came to visit and enjoy the festivities. The Food Show creatively promoted the serving of advanced custom foods, as 90 percent of the food items served were the latest and greatest available by prime vendor and other food service distributors.

As an extra incentive, the Supply Officer, Capt. Jeff Martin, decided to make it a competitive effort between the 12 different Food Stations by awarding a 72-hour liberty to the station that had the best presentation, 48 hours for second place, and 24 hours for third. There were two judging inputs, the crew voted for "Crew Favorite" and Corporate Executive Chef (C.E.C.) Van P. Atkins, of Las Vegas, Nev., voted for the "Best Overall."

Once again, the bar has been raised. The Truman Team exceeded all expectations. For over four hours the entire crew and hundreds of guests tasted, indulged and socialized throughout the mess decks. "Participating in these kinds of traditions and stretching your capabilities is part of what makes being a Truman crew member special", stated Martin. 

MSCS (SW) Kevin Blade is an eight time Ney Award finalist, bringing home first place five times.

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

July 2000

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