Stennis' Steel Beach Cook-off to Air on Food Network

Story Number: NNS050118-08Release Date: 1/18/2005 2:04:00 PM
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By Lt. Corey Barker, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The first Navy Chef Challenge cooking competition will be broadcast on the Food Network Jan. 23 at 10 p.m. EST. The television show was taped aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during a Tiger Cruise from Pearl Harbor to San Diego the last week in October 2004.

The one-hour show matches up three teams of culinary specialists from Stennis who go head-to-head in a heated 'food for all' contest. The challenge is divided into two categories, fine dinning and a steel beach BBQ on the flight deck of the massive ship during a sea-power demonstration for all hands.

Chef Andrew Selz, an award winning chef and honorary member of the Stennis crew, hosted the challenge. He joined the ship in Perth, Australia, and traveled aboard for two weeks to meet the crew and get the show ready to shoot.

"My journey from Perth, producing the Navy Chef Challenge, and the time spent in the galleys with the culinary specialists was very rewarding," Selz said. "I am impressed with the level of professionalism and good nature of the culinary specialists and the entire crew."

The Navy is focusing on better training for culinary specialists, and that training is paying off.

"The morale among the 150 culinary specialists was absolutely amazing!" said Selz. "The food served on board tasted great, and that is no easy feat when preparing food for thousands of hungry Sailors every day."

Camera crews embarked Stennis in Hawaii and began shooting the competition the first day at sea. Shooting the television show during Tiger Cruise allowed the crew's friends and family to watch and participate in the show. More than 1,000 guests of the crew traveled with the ship to San Diego for the five-day family cruise.

"My experience shooting on the Stennis was unlike any other field production I have encountered," said Food Network executive Christianna Reinhardt. "I have shot on locations all over the country, including on board ships, but nothing compared to the experience of shooting a show on an aircraft carrier."

"I cannot help but admire the proficiency and capability of the culinary specialists as they prepared and served delicious food for a crew of almost 6,000 people," Selz said. "It was truly amazing to witness."

For related news, visit the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Navy NewsStand page at

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) departs Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., for her new homeport of Bremerton, Wash.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
January 6, 2005
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