BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) S-2 division of Supply Department introduced the crew to the Navy's new Standard Core Menu March 21.
The ship's mess decks now provide a much larger selection of food, including more meats, pasta and noodles, and more grab-and-go snacks. Also, the crew can now serve themselves while in line, giving them freedom to choose from a variety of new tasty and healthy choices.
"It helps the morale of the crew," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Hill. "They have a better selection of food to eat and have different stations where they can go to eat; kind of like a restaurant."
According to Hill, Lincoln is the first carrier to implement the Standard menu. It is designed to service a ship's crew as well as an attached air wing. The objective is to make a ship's quality of life better by emphasizing choice, variety, flavor, and nutrition.
"The goal is to allow someone to walk on any carrier in the Navy and still get the same product," said Hill. "It's the same as if you went to an Applebee's or McDonald's. You want the same consistency throughout all carriers."
Hill said that the two main chow lines for E-1 through E-6 are expected to decrease in size because of the better selection. Instead of waiting in the port and starboard food lines, Sailors can go straight to the grab-and-go bar or pasta bar. There will also be two more bars opening by July, once new equipment arrives.
The menu also requires healthier ways of preparing food. S-2 has removed all deep-fat fryers from the kitchens to provide healthier choices for the crew. Food that was previously fried will now be baked or steamed.
"Research has been done on this menu by Naval Supply System Command (NAVSUP) Food Management Team," said Hill. "Out of a test score of 100, the new menu received a 96, meaning that the food is very healthy." The Combat Feeding Directorate at Natick Soldier Center partnered with NAVSUP in researching and developing the tastiest and most nutritious selections to make available.
From Culinary Specialist Seaman Kenny Tello's perspective, the labor-intensive changes result in more food production in the kitchen. Eight meats are prepared instead of three, but many of them no longer need to be cooked from scratch. Now they simply need to be heated.
"It's a lot better now that we have to be more organized and fast-paced," said Tello. "It's preparing us better as well, because we know that if we want to be in the real restaurant business, it's going to be a lot faster."
According to the comment cards S-2 has received from the crew, most Sailors like what they have seen, and have approved of the changes made.
The Navy Standard Core Menu is slated to be on board all ships by October 2007.
For more news from the USS Abraham Lincoln, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.