USS Bonhomme Richard Hosts Chef and Holds Food Expo
By JO1(SW) Robert W. Garnand
In the Navy, mess management specialists are the elite of the fleet, and without the elite, the fleet doesn't eat.
In an effort to maintain their elite status, USS Bonhomme Richard's (LHD 6) Food Service Division hosted a Canadian chief executive chef during the week of January 22nd as well as a multi-vendor Food Expo on the messdecks on Wednesday, January 24, 2001.
By hosting the chef, the ship's mess management specialists learn more about their trade and provides better service to the crew. By holding the Food Expo they can sample new products, eventually offering them to the crew. Also invited were food service leadership and personnel from the waterfront; at least 15 other ships sent representatives to attend.
"We have the Navy Food Management Team from the Navy Supply Systems Command
Master Chief Mess Management Specialist Andrew Apostol of the Navy Food Management Team said, "The chef is on board to exchange ideas and help Navy cooks see how their counterparts in the civilian sector work."
The chef, Michael Robertson, the Certified Chef de Cuisine at The Oakdale Club in Ontario, Canada, said, "I went through the Chef Society to offer my services to help improve what your cooks already know.
"I help out with things such as knife skills, cutting skills and how to use the knife to its full advantage," Robertson said.
"I also work closely with the cooks and try to show them different and safe ways to prepare food. For example," he continued, "I find out what they have in their inventory and try to give it a different twist. Hopefully the cooks can get a derivative from what I show them and maybe add their own little touches here and there."
As for the Food Expo, the ship had 13 food vendors participate. The vendors prepared
"By having the Food Expo on the messdecks during meal hours," said Ensign Joselito Baluyot, the ship's food service officer, "we can get input directly from the crew as to whether they like the vendors products or not.
"With this information," he said, "we can determine if a product has high acceptability and then we can provide the crew with what they want."
Master Chief Mess Management Specialist Igmedio Iglesia, the Food Service Division's leading mess management specialist, said, "Another benefit of having the vendors come on board is so we can see what new and different products they have to offer. This helps us to better serve the crew as well."
With this training from Chef Robertson and the Navy Food Management Team, along with the Food Expo, Bonhomme Richard's mess management specialists will maintain their elite status in the fleet.
Reprinted from the U.S. Navy's Surface Force Pacific news site. This story is dated January 30, 2001.