Seminar Focuses on Quality Food Service to the Fleet

BY BRIAN J. DAVIS, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER PUGET SOUND

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound is improving life at sea for thousands of Sailors by providing a forum for Fleet culinary specialists to sharpen their skills in a General Mess Seminar at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Washington.

KEYPORT, Wash. - Students from the General Mess Seminar introduce themselves to the diners during the seminar's capstone event, a semi-formal dinner service for invited guests, May 1.  The quarterly seminar, operated by the  FLC Navy Food Management Team at the Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Wash., offers Culinary Specialists an opportunity to sharpen their food management skills.  (U. S. Navy photo)

KEYPORT, Wash. – Students from the General Mess Seminar introduce themselves to the diners during the seminar’s capstone event, a semi-formal dinner service for invited guests, May 1. The quarterly seminar, operated by the FLC Navy Food Management Team at the Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Wash., offers Culinary Specialists an opportunity to sharpen their food management skills. (U. S. Navy photo)

The General Mess Seminar, open to all Navy food service personnel, was developed by the NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Navy Food Management Team to provide professional development for culinary specialists that would otherwise be unable to receive training due to their operational status. Currently, the seminar is held once per quarter and has enrolled students from ships throughout the region since the program’s inception in 2014.

“The General Mess Seminar reemphasizes basic general mess fundamentals, and introduces updates to our menus for culinary specialists who have not been operating a general mess,” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Wilson T. Sydenstricker, officer-in-charge of the Navy Food Management Team and symposium organizer.

According to Sydenstricker, the NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Food Management Team established the program to deliver continuing professional development for food service personnel when their commands are in submarine crew “off-crew” status or conducting yard periods and not operating a general mess.

The Navy Food Management Team conducts the quarterly seminar using a fully functional galley located in the team’s administrative offices at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Washington.

KEYPORT, Wash. - A student from the General Mess Seminar serves the dessert course during the seminar's capstone event, a semi-formal dinner service for invited guests, May 1.  The quarterly seminar, operated by the  FLC Navy Food Management Team at the Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Wash., offers Culinary Specialists an opportunity to sharpen their food management skills.  (U. S. Navy photo)

KEYPORT, Wash. – A student from the General Mess Seminar serves the dessert course during the seminar’s capstone event, a semi-formal dinner service for invited guests, May 1. The quarterly seminar, operated by the FLC Navy Food Management Team at the Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Wash., offers Culinary Specialists an opportunity to sharpen their food management skills. (U. S. Navy photo)

During the week-long seminar, instructors take the group of students, made up of Culinary Specialists from area commands, and put them through a curriculum that consists of some classroom work, but primarily entails practical, hands-on instruction dealing with all the aspects of operating a general mess.

“We take the Sailors through each step of creating a meal, from building the menu to obtaining provisions to preparing the food all the way through the presentation and serving of the meal,” said Sydenstricker. “We show them how to prepare the proper documentation for menu planning, requisition and issue of provisions, and we teach them how to use the electronic Navy Food Service Manual,” he said.

The symposium’s capstone event is a special meal service for invited guests from the students’ respective units. Students transform the facility’s conference room into a dining area to showcase their planning, cooking, and presentation skills, while at the same time taking advantage of the opportunity to practice semi-formal wardroom serving techniques.

Food service quality is considered a key factor affecting crew morale aboard Navy vessels, from submarines to aircraft carriers. The job of Navy culinary specialists is not only to provide healthy, nutritious meals for the crew, but also to handle the business side of a unit’s food service operation.

As with any occupational field in the Navy, honing critical rating skills will pay dividends in both quality of work and career development. General Mess Seminar Around NAVSUP students also enjoy the added benefit of interacting with fellow culinary specialists from a diverse assortment of platforms and working environments.

“Culinary specialists are able to work alongside crews from various commands, which builds esprit de corps along the waterfront. The Sailors also gain a different perspective on general mess fundamentals from other crews,” said Sydenstricker.

KEYPORT, Wash. - Capt. Tim Jett, Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound commanding officer, chats with students attending the General Mess Seminar at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport May 1.  The quarterly seminar, operated by the  FLC Navy Food Management Team, offers Culinary Specialists an opportunity to sharpen their food management skills.  (U. S. Navy photo)

KEYPORT, Wash. – Capt. Tim Jett, Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound commanding officer, chats with students attending the General Mess Seminar at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport May 1. The quarterly seminar, operated by the FLC Navy Food Management Team, offers Culinary Specialists an opportunity to sharpen their food management skills. (U. S. Navy photo)

Serving the needs of the Fleet is a priority for NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound, whose mission is to deliver NAVSUP Global Logistics Support tailored logistics products and services to submarine, surface, aviation and shore commands in the Pacific Northwest Region and throughout the Pacific Rim and Indian Ocean. For NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound and the Navy Food Management Team, this training is just another way of serving the customer.

“This embodies our role as the ‘face of the Fleet’ and directly impacts the service our Sailors provide during deployed operations,” said Capt. Timothy R. Jett, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound commanding officer.

The mission of the Navy Food Management Team is to aid ships and shore activities in raising the quality and standards of food service. They accomplish their mission through a number of activities, including crew food service training, galley equipment and sanitation inspections, and evaluation of unit food service operations.

July/August 2015