BY CWO2 MATT COMPTON, FOOD SERVICE OFFICER USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74)
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From left to right: CSSN Justin Delacruzbrisbin, CSSN L aquintis James, CSSN Gary Thomas (judge), CS3 Albert Naputi, CSSN Sanka Harris, FITBOSS J ohn Ciecko (judge), PSCM Danielle Gunsett (judge) Cmdr. Carl Whorton (judge), and CWO2 M att Compton.
Imagine a finely appointed and beautifully decorated plate presented with a one-of-a-kind dish, a combination of creativity and culinary skill. These types of experiences are usually reserved for the most prestigious restaurants across the world. However, on board USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), an experience like this can be enjoyed on a monthly basis during the ever-popular “Best of the Mess” Competition! A crew favorite, the competition pits galley against galley in a “Chopped” style rivalry with hopes of earning the coveted “Best of the Mess” award. The event is hosted by the USS Stennis’ own Food Service Officer, CWO2 Matt Compton.
The rules of the competition are simple, but challenging. Teams of culinary specialists (CS) from each of the six galleys were asked to produce one plated dish utilizing any edible ingredient found on board, including snacks and candy from ship’s vending machines and ship store. The only catch – each team was also required to incorporate three special ingredients into their completed dish: shrimp, dragon fruit, and bitter melon. In addition to their plated masterpieces being evaluated by four judges, samples of their dish were provided for crew members in attendance.
The March 2016 Winner of “Best of the Mess” team calls Aft Galley home and their team, “We Don’t Get Tired”. “These guys represent the unbelievable heart and drive that our crew thrives on,” exclaimed Principal Assistant for Services Lt. Cdmr. Jaime Siqueiros as he congratulated each team member. Each team’s dish was a perfect exhibition of their amazing technical and creative skill and ability to develop a dynamic group project, work together, and deliver a product worthy of their efforts. One audience member, YN2 James Wainio remarked, “Each team used crazy ingredients in ways I’ve never seen before and it was all absolutely delicious! I want that creativity on the galley line!” Team members CS Seaman Sanka Harris, CS Seaman Laquintis James, CS 3rd Class Albert Naputi, and CS Seaman Justin prepared coconut and walnut encrusted shrimp with bitter melon pork fried rice, which was nicely accompanied by a dragon fruit smoothie. This is the third win for Aft Galley, but the first win for “We Don’t Get Tired”.
Always a huge morale booster and excellent training exercise, the monthly event continues to showcase to the abundant range and depth of talent and untiring dedication of USS John C. Stennis’ very own food service staff!