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U.S. And U.K. Join Forces for World Class Culinary Competition

Six U.S. Navy Culinary Specialists have begun working with their U.K. Catering Services counterparts onboard HMS Raleigh, a naval base in Torpoint, United Kingdom. The U.S. team was invited to create a spirit of jointness with the U.K. that will lead to long term sustainable training opportunities that will turn those who participate into the next generation of ambassadors for the Culinary Specialist (CS) rating.

A formal invitation was sent and subsequently accepted for a team of U.S. Navy Culinary Specialists to train with, and compete alongside, the Royal Navy Culinary Arts Team at Exercise Joint Caterer 2023 (EJC 23), a cross-service competition between the U.K.’s Royal Navy (RN), British Army and Royal Air Force (RAF).

The U.S. Navy chefs were selected to showcase all aspects of Navy Food Service and has members from across the Navy to include afloat units, ashore galley programs, Presidential service and the Pentagon. The Navy team landed in London and settled in at Worthy Down Camp, Food Service Training Wing, in Winchester, U.K., hosted by Warrant Officer 1 Sam Hogg.

The visit provides an opportunity for the U.S. Navy CSs to work alongside Royal Navy Catering Services and participate in a series of bilateral skills workshops and training at the RN Embassy (Admiralty House), the Food Services Training Wing, and the two-week EJC 23 workshop at HMS Raleigh. The whole event culminating in competing together at the UK Armed Forces’ most prestigious and fiercely contested culinary competition.

The U.S. competitors are Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Haiwen Wu, pre-commissioning unit John F. Kennedy (CVN 79); Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (CS2) Gabriel Hernandez-Chavarria, Presidential Sous-Chef at Camp David, Maryland ; CS2 Brittiny Boatman, Galley Watch Captain at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California ; CS2 Jamesha Richardson Galley Watch Captain at Naval Base Kitsap, Washington; Culinary Specialist 1st Class Luis Sanchez, Leading Petty Officer at the Secretary of Defense Mess, Pentagon, Virginia; Chief Culinary Specialist Melody White, Guest Operations Chief at Camp David, Maryland; and Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (CSCS) Michael Edwards, Enlisted Aide to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, Virginia.

“When I found out I was selected for the team I was extremely happy,” shared CS2 Hernandez-Chavarria. “Experiences like these are not easy to get, they help the Navy because we can come back and share techniques with the other chefs who haven’t had the opportunity yet.”

CSCS Nicholas Zaricor, Enlisted Aide to Commander, Navy Region South-West; and Chef Scott Cooper, Regional Training Chef for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic; accompanied the competitors to coach and mentor them through the whirlwind process.

The first week at the Food Service Training Wing allowed the chefs to acclimate to the environment, to include the climate, time difference, ingredients, and equipment in the U.K. Throughout the week, the chefs prepared for the competition, working through ideas and techniques, with their U.K. sponsor Chef Instructors including a morning spent with a class on artisan bread making by U.K. Chef Instructor Steve Moss, and practicing and refining various plating methods in preparation for joining the 30 U.K. Chef competitors at HMS Raleigh.

“My leadership has been the key to being chosen for this (and others) competition,” said CS2 Boatman. “They’re the ones who gave me the opportunities to compete.”

Since moving four hours west to HMS Raleigh, chefs from both nations spent a day breathing life back into the former Food Service training facility which had been closed for more than a year since the training had been moved to Worthy Down Camp. All hands turned to the task together, cleaning the five kitchens to be used, stocking them with the stores that will end up as ingredients for dishes the chefs will be creating and practicing for the actual competition later this month, 30 October through 1 November.

“To be successful, we all need to work together as a team and support each other. You’ll need to be creative, innovative and resourceful. You’ll need to push yourselves to your limits and accept that things won’t always go to plan and when they don’t, you’ll need top pick yourself up and carry on,” said Warrant Officer 1 Carl Neville, the Royal Navy Culinary Arts Team director. “As Royal Navy Catering Services, I know you’ll do that, you are capable of extraordinary things.”

Source : Navy