USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- Culinary specialists (CS) aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) improved their jobs skills through the Navy's Adopt-A-Ship program Aug. 1-12.
As part of the program, University of Alaska Fairbanks culinary arts professor Chef Michael Roddey gave the Boxer's CSs presentations on knife handling, seasoning and refresher courses on basic kitchen cookery in order to enhance the presentation and quality of food for the Sailors.
"I'm not here to make Earth-shattering changes or rebuild their operation," said Roddey. "I'm just here to lend my expertise and try to enhance what they're already doing. They really do a great job; they put out a good product."
Roddey has five years of experience as a culinary educator and 20 years experience with various aspects of the food industry.
In addition to providing tips, Roddey also gave advise to CSs and food service assistants who are interested in pursuing careers in the food industry.
"I never went to CS 'A' school, and he has helped me so much with cooking, sanitation, how to cut certain ways, seasoning..." said Culinary Specialist Seaman Nastassjia Valerio. "He knows so much, and it makes me curious to learn more."
Roddey has even been an influence on some of the supervisors as well.
"The CS1s that are in charge here are coming to me for ways to help them manage their operation better," said Roddey. "They have the experience, but they only have the military experience. I'm not saying any of that is bad, but it can be narrow in its perspective."
With his assistance, many people have noticed a marked improvement in the way the galley has been running.
"I've learned a lot of new things," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Jacob Huron. "(I've learned) more about time management, and he's showed us garnishing tips, how things like parsley or paprika can make a simple dish like fish look better."
"Before, I would just put vegetables in the copper and blanch them, put them in water and serve them, but he's taught me it's better to grill them and season them a little so they have more taste," said Valerio.
Roddey said his main motivator for participating in the Adopt-A-Ship program was to experience life aboard a ship, so he could gather information on different areas of the food industry.
He said he plans to bring what he has learned while aboard the ship and lend it to his students. He hopes they can take their culinary education and perhaps come to a ship like Boxer.
"We're not getting a paycheck for being out here," said Roddey. "What we get out of it is the satisfaction of continuing to give back."
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.