GROTON, Conn. – Twelve junior culinary specialists (CS) had the unique opportunity to become galley watch captains during a special training course held at Cross Hall Galley onboard Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London, Nov. 26- Dec. 11.
Galley watch captains are the backbone of food service production across the Navy. Responsible for all food service operations in the galley, watch captains are given specific training to take on roles similar to a manager at a restaurant.
“Shore duty watch captains are the epicenter of a successful galley operation,” said Chief Culinary Specialist (Submarine) Jeremy Flake. “We pride ourselves to train these young Sailors and provide proper job rotations to enhance their capabilities. They return to the fleet ready to run their own operations with no oversight.”
SUBASE New London hosts the course annually for the logistical ease of culinary specialists assigned to commands throughout the New England region.
“Cross Hall Galley is the only site in the Navy outside of Norfolk and San Diego to host the watch captain classes for the third year in a row,” said Lt. Mark Booc, food service officer, Cross Hall Galley.
The course expands on the basics culinary specialists are initially taught, by training them to be leaders and administrators as well as workers and servers.
“The class is made out of two phases that encapsulates theory and practicum for the Sailors,” said Chief Culinary Specialist Fredrick Whisner, instructor, galley watch captain course. “It involves advanced technical knowledge of food service publications that touches on job assignments, menu planning, food preparation, sanitation and mastery of different galley stations.”
Cross Hall Galley features a classroom with a full-size replica of a Virginia-class submarine’s galley, which allows students to learn how to cook in tight spaces. The replica was built in 2012 as part of the state of Connecticut’s continuing investment in infrastructure improvements at SUBASE.
During the training each student brought their own experiences, and collectively everyone benefited from the knowledge in the room. In addition to the aromas of fresh fruits and vegetables, the air in the classroom was filled with a lively spirit as the Sailors bounced lessons and ideas off one another and practiced new recipes and cooking techniques.
“I am learning to make jalapeno cornbread,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Kajahmel Green, assigned to USS Constitution. “It’s my first time making it, so hopefully it will come out right. I’m also learning how to take charge. We’re all learning how to be galley watch captains, which means we will be the ones making the menus and generally supervise the galley.”
William Dorris, galley program manager, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic stated the success of the galley watch captains course at SUBASE speaks to even greater possibilities for future training.
“Sailors stationed at and around SUBASE can train to earn their watch captain Navy enlisted classification right here in Groton, rather than having to travel to the schoolhouse in Virginia,” said Dorris. “By sending a single instructor up here instead of a group of Sailors to Norfolk, we create huge travel dollar savings while increasing the number of qualified culinarians ready to go back to sea and perform at a quality level.”
The course concluded with a graduation ceremony and a grand lunch buffet prepared by the graduates, where each student got to show off their newly acquired cooking abili