Diversity and Skill: Completing the Meal

Story Number: NNS190809-04Release Date: 8/9/2019 10:41:00 AM
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By Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Drevon L. Thompson, Chief Culinary Specialist Aaron Smith, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Galley Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) culinary specialists (CS) diversify their skills by providing extensive services to support the U.S. Navy’s oldest continuously run hospital, operating since 1830. 

Every day, the CSs feed a wide array of patients while accommodating individual dietary needs. The requirements range from a room-service-style menu for expectant and new mothers in the Labor & Delivery Ward, to strict diets and recipes for patients in varying degrees of health, to supporting NMCP staff and visitors through a traditional Navy shoreside galley. Though faced with constant challenges in the service they provide, the CSs stop at nothing to complete the mission.

In addition to providing meal service at NMCP, culinary specialists attached to the hospital staff are also required to assist during relief efforts on the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). When deployed, nearly 40% of the CSs assigned to NMCP – along with one or two dietitians – are assigned to the ship, with deployments lasting one to six months. This leaves the remaining staff to step into critical leadership roles to continue the same high-quality patient care. This time is no different. With Comfort on a five-month deployment, the foodservice staff at NMCP maintained those high standards and met additional challenges.

NMCP regularly receives high-profile visitors, and CS support is often requested. This past year the CSs hosted VIP luncheons for Vice Adm. Rachel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, and Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy Surgeon General; hosted a VIP breakfast for prospective commanding officers assuming command with Navy Medicine East; and executed a perfectly planned change-of-command ceremony, welcoming aboard Capt. Lisa Mulligan and saying "Fair winds and following seas" to Capt. Christopher Culp.

NMCP's consolidated crew of 50 CSs have exceeded the mission to provide high-quality meals and exceptional customer service to staff and patients each day, by being growth oriented versus goal oriented.

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For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit www.navy.mil/local/NMCP/.

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August 9, 2019
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