By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sunday Williams, Fleet Week Port Everglades Media Center
PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- Seventeen culinary specialists from ships participating in the 20th Anniversary Fleet Week Port Everglades competed in the Galley Wars Competition April 28 at Hugh's Catering in Ft. Lauderdale.
Culinary teams from USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS Halyburton (FFG 40), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Newport News (SSN 750), USCG South Florida, and FSG Hessen from Germany gathered around Chef Hugh McCauley, the owner of Hugh's Catering who kicked off the night with opening remarks and a meeting with participating culinary teams.
Hugh really enjoys hosting this event and allowing military culinary specialists to show off their talent.
"This is our second year and we really enjoy putting the effort out there for the Navy and the Coast Guard, because they put the effort out there for us," said McCauley.
"To give back to the Navy and the military as a whole, this is one of the only ways we civilians can help out, is with a little hospitality."
Teams were given one hour to produce two entrees, a salad and a dessert. At least one entrée was required to include the secret ingredient, which was announced by Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Vice Adm. Mel Williams Jr.
"The secret ingredient is farm raised Pacific steel head salmon," said Williams.
With that said, the teams sliced, diced, grilled and sautéed their way through their one hour timeline using various vegetables, fruits, salmon, chicken, pasta, creams and various seasonings.
While the teams raced to complete their meals supporters from the local community as well as from the various ships stood by cheering the Sailors on.
Once the teams completed their entrees a table was set for judges that included Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
"This is important for the Navy CSs because for anybody who has ever been on a ship before, food is the morale, and these guys just do a terrific job and this is a chance for them to develop their skills a little bit more and take those skills back to the ship," said Howard.
Once dinner was served to the crowd a once noisy room became silent. Attendees placed their voting tickets with their entrée of choice and the decisions were made.
McCauley stood with the rest of the judges which along with Howard included Chef Jacques Brevery, Chef John Kane, and Chef Kevin Hyotte to announce the winners.
McCauley was very impressed with all of the participants. Second place went to the German ship Hessen but it was the team from USS Porter that came out on top. They were the only team competing with just two participants where the other teams had three.
Culinary Specialist 1st Class Ryan Weimer and Culinary Specialist Seaman Apprentice Treavor Elliot from Porter were shocked.
"I'm surprised, I'm shocked, I'm really happy with myself and my performance, and I'm thrilled with CSSA Elliot's performance, I mean I'm really proud of the guy," said Weimer.
"I think both of us learned a lot tonight just being here so it was just really exciting. It was nice to be able to prove to myself what I'm actually capable of in a different kind of environment."
Porter gained bragging rights across the fleet and their leadership said they are very proud and look forward to competing again.
In the upper photograph, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Corey Hartfield, assigned to the guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40), prepares a filet of farm at Hugh's Catering. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sunday Williams.)
The lower photograph shows Chef Hugh McCauley as he starts this year's Fleet Week Galley Wars competition at his facility, Hugh's Catering.