Friday, October 20, 2006

Navy Culinary Specialist 'Stirs' Interest in Cooking for Yokosuka Students

By Tim Shannon, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) (10/11/2006 ) -- Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Lester Griffith, of U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, has volunteered his time since Sept. 25 to teach local students the finer points of preparing select dishes.

Griffith teaches shipboard Sailors how to cook, but he is volunteering some of his time to teach middle school students at Department of Defense Dependant School Yokosuka Middle School the way to cook almond chicken and stir-fry vegetables, among other dishes.

"This is a great opportunity to help in the community," said Griffith.

His visits to the middle school are intended as a break from the students' normal classroom instruction and as a way to show them the career options for a chef. He also answers their questions about educational opportunities and life in the Navy.

Sherri Thomas, 8th grade family-consumer science teacher, said this is a great benefit to the students.

“Many of my students are truly interested in becoming chefs in the future. Many of our DoDDS high schools offer culinary programs. This is a great way to prepare them for that program if they are still interested when they reach high school,” said Thomas.

Griffith, along with Army food inspector, Sgt. 1st Class Tampa Transou, also of U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, conduct most of the preparations before class starts so they can focus their classroom time on teaching the students cooking and plate presentation.

Zachary Cooper, a student in the class, said he was impressed with Griffith.

“He’s cool. He looks like one of those people on ‘Master Chef’ or something,” Cooper said.

In addition to learning actual cooking techniques, the students learned about food preparation, food safety, knife handling and sanitation.

"Having Sgt. 1st Class Transou here was a great opportunity," stated Thomas. "The students were given a lab safety and sanitation test a few weeks ago. She made sure that they were on their P’s and Q’s in the sanitation department."

Many of the students shared their creations with their teachers and principals and received rave reviews. Griffith said that he enjoyed the experience.

"The kids did great. The job was done to perfection," he said.

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