BY CANDICE VILLARREAL, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLC SAN DIEGO
A NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego Sailor augmented the Royal Navy’s culinary experts to compete in Exercise Joint Caterer from Oct. 11-13 in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, United Kingdom (UK).
[caption id="attachment_5979" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
From left to right: Chief Warrant Officer Five Alicia Lawrence, SCPO Chad Shiflett; PO2 Caroleeta Smith, PO1 Precious Hayes, PO1 Alexandria Cross, PO1 Frida Karani (Team Captain), PO2 Jeremy Andersen, PO1 Eugene Ward and Senior Chief Morio Hall.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Morio Hall, an instructor for the NAVSUP FLC San Diego Navy Food Management Team (NFMT), was one of nine U.S. Navy Sailors chosen to join his UK comrades for the three-day event, where members of the Royal Navy put their best food forward to compete against other Royal military branches in an array of culinary subcategories.
“This is the third year the Royal Navy has invited the U.S., exclusively, to participate in the exercise,” said Hall. “We maintain a really good relationship with our allies abroad, so we are always excited about opportunities to join them.”
The primary goal of the event was to provide military caterers, chefs and stewards from all branches with a way to further develop their culinary skills and nurture their pride in professional achievement. The competition featured subcategories for a variety of dishes, such as vegetarian, fish, chicken, hot and sweet, dessert, Asian and Caribbean categories, in addition to the “open serve” category, which incorporates everything from cooking to table setting, serving and meal presentation.
The Royal Navy team came out on top in the overall team category, earning the highest final score ever recorded in the history of the exercise. Overall, Sailors from the U.S. Navy left Joint Caterer with 12 medals – six silver and six bronze.
“More than anything else, this exercise brought us together with some really great hosts; the Royal Navy’s cooks are all certified chefs, so they’re some of the best in the military culinary world,” said Hall. “When our Sailors get to join them, they take the skills they learned home afterward to benefit their Sailors. That, to me, is the most important piece of this entire experience.”
[caption id="attachment_5980" align="alignleft" width="300"]
SCPO Morio Hall, an instructor for the NAVSUP FLC San Diego NFMT.
In addition to the continued training aspect of the exercise, the event had the added benefit of earning the Sailors credit toward executive chef certifications, empowering them to earn professional civilian certifications and combine them with their Navy training, making them well-rounded, desirable professionals both in and outside of the military.
The San Diego team is one of six NFMTs serving the Navy’s food service community throughout the U.S., formed to enrich the skills of trained Sailors who enhance warfighter morale by way of the Navy’s general messes on a daily basis.
In addition to its various cooking and training seminars held year-round, the NFMT also conducts shipboard assist visits for commands across the west coast, providing Sailors with both refresher and advanced training that is apart from and beyond the basic skills the Sailors receive in their “A” and “C” schools.
“It was just really great to go over there with a group of our respected and revered allies, lead a group of motivated Sailors, be great ambassadors for the United States, and show our enthusiasm for the culinary arts,” said Hall. “It’s a lot of fun to go out and showcase the array of skills with which our Navy equips us. It’s an experience we won’t forget.”