"Chefs at Sea" Program in Full Swing

Story Number: NNS080401-06Release Date: 4/1/2008 1:38:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Bookwalter, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) "Chefs at Sea" program is in full swing as Sailors will complete their classroom study April 4, and begin the practical application phase.

Jon Anderson, the teacher and coordinator for Truman's "Chefs at Sea" program and an instructor from First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine, Fla., said he has been working with Sailors on board the ship to improve their culinary skills. He said once Sailors are finished with the program, they will have a better understanding of basic and advanced cooking techniques and be one step closer to certification.

"I work with a bunch of dedicated culinary specialists (CSs) right now," said Anderson. "Right now we are doing book work and finishing finals. I'm hoping that [on] April 4 we can have the final, then move into some practical stuff, and more hands on training in the galleys."

The course is completely voluntary and all of the culinary specialists who are involved chose to take their cooking to the next level.

"The course consists of 120 hours of classroom study during the cruise, then practical application," Anderson said. "The course really takes some dedication because of its difficulty. I have about 20 CSs participating."

The course doesn't just give the Sailors training that will help them on Truman, but gives them practical skills to take into the civilian world after their service in the Navy.

"We were able to get everyone involved a membership into the American Culinary Federation (ACF)," Anderson said. "As long as they pass the final, they get a certificate saying they are a certified culinarian, which is the first step on the ACF ladder."

Anderson said the certification proves their skills are at a higher level because they have received rigorous training. The academic side of the program consisted of three classes - human resources, nutrition and sanitation.

"The safety and sanitation portion covered proper food handling and how to use equipment properly," Anderson said. "We are doing the nutrition class right now and the Sailors just took the test for the human resource management course where they learned a lot about mandatory benefits, how to run shifts and restaurant scheduling."

Culinary Specialist Seaman Jamie Snyder, a class participant and one of Truman's galley chefs said the program has given her a better understanding of food and everything that goes into preparing it.

"Out of all three courses, the nutrition course has been the most difficult," Snyder said. "We had to memorize a lot of facts, like how many calories a day you should have, the scientific name for the vitamin B-12 and what vitamins are fat soluble. You have to really know a lot about the vitamins and minerals and where they come from."

The "Chefs At Sea" program is not as far as culinary Sailors can go with their career while in the Navy.
Anderson said this is only one program available out of many in the Navy.

"Participants can also apply for different certificate levels later on as they go through and they document their training and work hours," Anderson said.

Whether enlistment time is up or the time to advance is close, extra classes and training that the Navy offers can help with both bettering yourself as a Sailor and as a person.

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.

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