VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, UNITED STATES
Story by Michelle Stewart
By Michelle Stewart
Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story Public Affairs Office
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story’s galley, Gator Inn, was awarded the 2021 Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Food Service Award in the East Coast General Mess category, March 11.
Established in 1958, the award is given annually to Navy galleys of each category of ship and shore commands. Co-sponsored by the International Food Service Executives Association, the objective is to improve the quality of life for Navy personnel and recognize the best general galleys in the Navy.
“Winning the Ney is huge!” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Webster Z. Bailey, from Brewton, Alabama. “It’s the Super Bowl for [culinary specialists] and for our community.”
It shows that all the hard work we put in on a daily basis – the 15 to 18-hour days and sacrifices we make – is worth it.”
The Gator Inn is made up of a team of Sailors and civilians who ensures the galley maintains the highest standards. In addition to the day-to-day duties of the galley staff, they also provided meals to service members who were confined to the barracks due to COVID-19. Everything that went into that level of service earned them the top spot out of 14 galleys in the Mid-Atlantic.
“There are a lot of people to thank – the junior Sailors, chiefs, civilians, food service officer and region,” said Bailey. “Most importantly is our leadership who provided the tools we needed to succeed.”
This marks the second year in a row that the Gator Inn has been named the winner. While preparing for the award took the same dedication and hard work as the previous year, submitting for the award was a bit different. Due to COVID-19, a process that previously took one day took seven with photographs and videos needing to be submitted in lieu of in-person inspections.
“Our team worked hard in preparing for the inspection,” said Los Angeles native, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Joi K. Constable, who serves as the galley’s leading petty officer. “We performed spot inspections and held more than 50 hours of [culinary specialist] specific training.”
When we won last year, we asked ourselves ‘What can we do better and apparently what we did worked.”