Friday, September 23, 2005

Guest Chef Brings "Canadian Baking" To USS Tarawa

By JO3 Adam Stapleton, USN, USS Tarawa (LHA 1)

It may have seemed like your average "Hamburger Tuesday" aboard USS Tarawa (LHA 1), but in fact it was far from an average burger day as cooks had the aid of a professional chef to spice it all up.

"Let's try the option of adding sautéed mushrooms and onions," Chef Samuel Glass said to the wardroom culinary specialists (CSs) over the sizzle of the beef-patty "sliders" on the grill. "Let's add some flair to an old Navy favorite."

Chef Samuel Glass, center, passes on cooking tips to CS2 Tawney Cortezparedes, left, and CS3 Michelle Harvey, both USS Tarawa (LHA 1) crew members. Glass visited the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship as part of the Naval Supply Systems Command's Adopt-A-Ship program during a recent pre-deployment training exercise off the coast of Southern California in mid May. U.S. Navy Photo by PHAN (AW) Kelly Morgan.

Chef Samuel Glass, a volunteer in the Adopt-A-Ship Program, came on board the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship during pre-deployment training operations with the goal of inspiring the CS's creativity.

"It was a pleasure working with him," said Tarawa CS2 (SW/AW) Michelle Harvey. "We learned a lot of new techniques, like how to take what the menu calls for and then spice it up a bit."

This is the ninth time the Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, native has participated in the program and his third time instructing on Tarawa.

"None of the other armed forces have a program anywhere near as accessible," said the certified executive chef. "The opportunity to go underway on a ship, for me, was a thrill and an honor."

Chef Glass, the Director of Culinary Education at the Culinary Arts School of Ontario, also shared his personal philosophy on food preparation with Tarawa CSs. "I've always followed the saying, 'You're only as good as your last meal.' If you screw up on a meal, then nobody remembers how many times you've done well. That's something I try to instill in the other cooks, the art of caring about every dish you prepare."

"Time management and proper meal planning," said Harvey. "That's the main lesson I took from Chef Glass, how to really focus on dish preparation for the hours during which we serve."

Not all of the teaching is one-sided, however, as Glass also has picked up a few tricks from Sailors. "I once saw someone here chopping hard-boiled eggs and putting them in the chicken gravy. I'd never seen that done, so when I asked him about it he said, `Well, that's the way we do it in the South.' To this day I talk about how the best turkey gravy I've ever tasted was cooked by a Navy Sailor."

Tarawa CSs received training they can use in more ways than one. "I've seen how the Navy is not only providing CSs with training for life in the military, but also for life after the Navy as well," said Glass. "And to help out, after my visit, I'll file a report with NAVSUP that gives these CS's credit towards their certifications as cooks by the American Culinary Federation."

"It's a great program, and it's good for our Sailors to see a side other than the Navy," said CS1 (SW) Janelle Goosby. "What they do and learn here they can take with them and use in the civilian world."

In addition to training the CSs in the main galley, wardroom, and the Expeditionary Strike Group 1 flag mess, Chef Glass also visited USS Cleveland (LPD 7) for two days of training with their food service team. As Chef Glass' week at sea came to an end, he recounted how lucky he feels to be involved with the Adopt-a-Ship program.

"I get to do this as a volunteer chef, I get to share my love of cooking while supporting those whom I think are some unsung heroes," said Glass. "It's important to remember how hard these Sailors work. The next time you see a CS, don't hesitate to thank them for their hard work and to compliment them on a meal well done."

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