BY CANDICE VILLARREAL OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER SAN DIEGO
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Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center San Diego Commanding Officer Capt. John Palmer joins Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Antonio McCloud of USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) in preparing beef broccoli as Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Morio Hall supervises during an Asian cuisine course Oct. 20 in San Diego.
About two dozen culinary specialists savored the opportunity to learn fresh, authentic Asian cuisine preparation during a class hosted by Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego Oct. 20.
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Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Joelasa Oquendo of PCU John P. Murtha (LPD 26) serves a plate of freshly-cooked chicken adobo and rice.
The Asian cuisine class, hosted by the command’s Navy Food Management Team (NFMT), brought food service officers and culinary specialists from the USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), PCU John P. Murtha (LPD 26), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Pasadena (SSN 752), Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and Littoral Combat Ship Crews 208 and 209 together to provide them with the techniques necessary for preparing and cooking authentic Asian dishes from scratch.
“Our main focus when we hold these types of courses is to help the culinary specialists hone their skills in a specialized, controlled environment,” said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Matthew Palafox. “When you’re aboard ship and working in the galley, there are a lot of time constraints and workload demands you have to meet. Here, we take them away from those distractions and let them focus all of their efforts on perfecting the skills we’re teaching them.”
The Asian cuisine class is a one day course offered in addition to an array of other advanced courses such as nutrition, French cuisine, Italian cuisine, Japanese cuisine, fusion cuisine, Latin cuisine, hors d’ oeuvres, baking, cake decorating and more, all held throughout the year. The day’s menu included lumpia with chili sauce, bacon wrapped scallops, broccoli beef, chicken adobo, special fried rice and Asian salad.
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Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Antonio McCloud and Culinary Specialist Seaman Meghan Riehl both of PCU John P. Murtha and Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit James Hawkins of USS Dewey
(DDG 105) prepare beef broccoli, rice and chicken adobo.
“All skills are perishable,” said Palafox. “So even though they’ve gone through their initial culinary specialist training, they’re Sailors who may have also gone through yard periods, temporary duty assignments and other situations where they may not have been cooking for a while. These classes teach them additional techniques and keep their skills on point. This way, a Sailor that just finished a security stint can get back to work with skills that are still fresh and relevant.”
The training offered by the NFMT is apart from and in addition to the basic skills and training Sailors in the culinary specialist rating receive in their “A” and “C” schools. All courses include dishes that are prepared using ingredients that are readily available aboard ship and easily implemented into the standard core menu, making the recipes practical, yet gourmet.
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Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Antonio McCloud of PCU John P. Murtha (LPD 26) and Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Jennifer Hunt of USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) prepare a traditional Asian beef broccoli dish.
“When you invest this kind of training into fleet Sailors, you make a direct and deliberate contribution to the morale of our fighting force,” said Commanding Officer Capt. John Palmer. “When you’re out at sea, a good meal can make or break your morale. It doesn’t take long to realize exactly how important something like high quality food service really is to the mission.”
The San Diego team is one of six NFMTs serving the culinary specialist community throughout the United States, ensuring Sailors in all corners of the globe enjoy the benefit of continued learning in the culinary realm.
“They took the training to heart, enjoyed what they were learning, and produced an excellent meal,” said Palmer. “Hands down, the best lumpia I’ve ever had, and they’re taking that back to their crews as we speak.”