The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon has been recognized for its outstanding food service program as a recipient of the annual Capt. David M. Cook award for food service excellence.
Yukon competed with other ships from throughout the MSC fleet, with the ships divided into two categories based on crew size — the ships in the small ship category have crews of 75 people or less and the ships in the large ship category have crews of 75 or more people. Yukon is in the large ship category.
According to Louie DeLima, Yukon’s Chief Steward, the award process begins when the ship’s master nominates the ship the competition. Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force offices, located in Norfolk and San Diego, review the submissions, assess the ships and nominate one large ship and one small ship for the award. A three-member assessment team visits the nominated ships to determine two winners and two runners-up. Inspectors evaluate things such as the ship’s financial accountability, sanitation, safety, customer service, menu planning/presentation, and crew surveys.
Throughout the year, DeLima and his department, made up of five cooks and 9 Supply Utilities personnel, make improvements based on their own observations and suggestions from the ship’s crew. For fiscal year 2019, new furniture and layout for the dining rooms was front and center, as well as new menu items, some specifically tailored with the health of the crew in mind. DeLima noted that surf and turf and oriental fusion dishes are a favorite of the crew.
“We try to give the crew what they like,” said DeLima “We use the Navy meal plan, but we also like to improve upon them by adding extra things like spices. We also try accommodate special requests.”
Outstanding food service isn’t just about feeding the bodies of the crew. According to Capt. Daniel Glazier, Yukon’s civil service master, good food is also good for moral.
“Good food greatly affects the crew,” said Glazier. “They work hard and look forward to having good food, that’s well prepared and not just cooked and slapped on their plate. This award is very well deserved! Having our food service team at a competitive level means extra care of the quality and attention is higher in all respects; safety, food preparation, cleanliness, and presentation all greatly benefit the crew.”
For DeLima, receiving the David M. Cook Food Service Award is acknowledgement for his, and his team’s hard work, attention to detail and dedication to Yukon’s crew.
“I’m so excited to receive this award,” said DeLima “It shows that I can make a difference on the morale of the crew.”
In addition to a plaque that commemorates their achievement, the food service team will also receive a performance award and a one-week shipboard culinary training session provided by a certified executive chef.
The Captain David M. Cook Award honors MSC’s former director of logistics, Capt. David M. Cook. While serving as MSC’s logistics director from 1995 until 1998, he was instrumental in enhancing every aspect of food service operations at MSC, from training for food service staff to nutrition education for ship crews.