U.S. NAVY CULINARY SPECIALIST (CS) BALL CAP DEVICE

It can be difficult for someone who has never worked in a restaurant environment to fully grasp just how much is involved in running an eating establishment. Ordering and storing food, maintaining cooking supplies and equipment, implementing appropriate sanitation measures, preparing food that meets certain nutritional standards, serving meals within rigid time parameters, disposing of waste…the list truly does go on and on.

Now, to put yourself in the shoes a Sailor working in the Culinary Specialist (CS) rating, imagine that the “restaurant” where you work is not only open 24/7 every day of the year, but also one where every inhabitant of a small village or town shows up for every meal…because your “restaurant” is the only one around.

The routine has the potential to become tedious, but in recent years the Navy has spiced things up for Culinary Specialists by allowing commands to host the U.S. Navy version of the popular television show “Iron Chef.” While the rules that CS Sailors operate under during the competition will vary from command to command, they generally mimic the strictures used in the hit TV show that force chefs to be creative while being forced to use certain ingredients.

In a 2014 at-sea “Iron Chef” showdown on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, for example, the two Culinary Specialists competing head to head were required to use one of three ingredients—almonds, garlic, or ginger—in one of the dishes. The winning meal consisted of a fried shrimp and dipping sauce appetizer, sliced steak paired with Spanish rice and beans, and a chocolate lava cake. More recently (April 2016), five junior Sailors serving as Culinary Specialists were pitted against an equal number of their Senior counterparts in the first round of an Iron Chef competition aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay.

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