Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Navy Food Management Team integrated training facility opens in Norfolk

By Bob Anderson, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, Office of Corporate Communications

CAPT Ruth A. Christopherson, Commanding Officer, FISC Norfolk, and CW05 Paul Jones, NFMT Team Lead, cut the ribbon opening a new state-of-the-art training facility. Also pictured are the NFMT instructors MMCS Douglas Miller; CS1 Michael Hamer; SFC Donald Fennell, USA; CSCS Kevin Pitre; CSCM Carol Anderson; CSCS Catrina Cain; and CSCS Stephen Wyrick

A new Integrated Navy Food Management Team (NFMT) training facility was opened recently in Norfolk, Va.

After three years of planning, and 18 months of construction, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Norfolk Commanding Officer, Capt. Ruth A. Christopherson, and CWO5 Paul T. Jones, NFMT Norfolk OIC, cut the ribbon in Building W-143 marking the opening of the new state-of-the-art food preparation and classroom facility.

Excellence in food service is essential to the health and morale of Navy members and to the overall readiness of the operating forces. Because food is a major item of expense, use of the best food management practices (conservation, preparation, and serving) is necessary.

“Our new galley provides a facility that resembles a galley on a ship in terms of the equipment configuration and will allow us to work as though we are on a ship,” said CWO5 Jones. “Our classrooms have the capacity to train up to 42 students and 19 students in the FSM lab at any one time. Additionally, as we conduct our main mission, providing training and assistance to the 104 commands assigned to our area of responsibility (AOR), the new facility also gives us fully functional and operational office spaces to conduct our business from,” he added.

Although the NFMT course of instruction is not a Navy school nor does it provide any type of NEC, the training significantly improves the overall Navy food service program.

The mission of the NFMT is to aid ships and ashore activities in raising the quality and standards of food service. “Sailors and civilian food service professionals located throughout the Hampton Roads area along with any Sailor transiting our AOR needing assistance or training can receive training from us,” said CWO5 Jones. “Additionally, we partner with the Military Sealift Command by providing access to our facilities to support the training of their food service mariners. Our facility will also accommodate training and conference requirements with the area TYCOMs,” added Jones.

A total of 28 seminars are taught each year by the Norfolk NFMT. The seminars include Watch Captain, FSM/ Recorders Keeper, Cake Decorating, Menu Planning/ Nutrition, FSO/Leading CS Afloat, Knife Handling/Basic Garnishing, Food Service Sanitation, Basic Records Keeping, and a Prime Vendor QA course. All NFMTs are partnered with the International Food Service Executive Association (IFSEA). IFSEA provides a course of instruction to Navy food service professionals and can certify the service members in several of their industry recognized certifications. They also partner with the National Restaurant Association and certify Sailors in sanitation through a course of instruction called SERVSAFE. The SERVSAFE certifications are taught about 6 times a year.

In addition to its food service training seminars, advancement exam study sessions are conducted twice a year for petty officers E4-E7.

Much of the help provided by the NFMT comes from their participation as an advisor in managing food service programs. This is done by working along with food service personnel. Their training also motivates food service personnel toward increased efficiency and effectiveness.

This new training facility will allow NFMT instructors to provide on-the-job training to food service personnel through the “do as I do” method of instruction, employing advanced training aids and techniques, placing special emphasis on high-quality food preparation, progressive cookery, proper serving techniques, food service safety precautions and operating procedures, fire prevention, sanitation, and personal hygiene. Inducing and stimulating professional pride in food service personnel.

As of June 2008 NFMT Norfolk had trained 483 people and expect to train approximately 900 this year.

Requests for Navy Food Management Team Assistance visits are highly encouraged. A team visit usually lasts for 2 weeks. Shorter visits may be arranged if operating schedules or scope of food service operations dictates. An example is a ship desiring a visit to address specific problem areas. Team visits normally should not be requested during yard overhaul, while underway, or before shakedown periods.

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