By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Luciano Marano, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs
LOS ANGELES (NNS) -- Culinary Specialists assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) competed against students from the Los Angeles Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in a cooking contest, July 26, as part of the Los Angeles Navy Week.
"I couldn't have picked a better team for this event," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jonathan Yates, the Lincoln team leader and a native of Greenville, N.C. "They're all great chefs, and that's important because in our world there's a big difference between cooks and chefs."
Each team was instructed to plan and prepare a breakfast menu to be judged by three randomly selected Sailors. Yates, as well as Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jimmy Nguyen, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class (SW) William Felix, Culinary Specialist Seaman Adrian Flanery and Culinary Specialist Seaman Jeremy Pierre were voted the winners of the cook-off by a panel of their shipmates.
"Cooking has always been a tradition in my family," said Pierre, a native of New Orleans. "We're here today in our house; we couldn't let ourselves lose."
"It's a real pleasure to be here," said Le Cordon Bleu Chef Instructor Michael Shane, himself a prior enlisted Mess Management Specialist 2nd Class, which is what Culinary Specialist were called prior to the name change. "Our guys cook the same way as these [Navy] guys. There is definitely a chain of command in the kitchen; it's really the same job."
The challenge was broadcast live from the ship's galley as part of the daily "Good Day L.A." news program.
"This is the biggest cooking challenge I've ever been in," said Yates. "We're cooking against an actual culinary school, and a great school at that. Bring on Bobby Flay. I'm ready for a throwdown!"
The winning menu consisted of spinach and feta cheese omelet, cheese and bacon breakfast potatoes, steak, a peach tart and orange/pineapple juice.
Navy Week is an opportunity for the officers and crew of the visiting ships to help the Navy showcase the quality of its personnel to local citizens. Lincoln's participation in L.A. Navy Week will demonstrate to area leaders and the general public that the Navy remains an effective and vital tool of national defense and a viable career opportunity for young men and women.
The Navy conducts approximately 20 Navy Weeks each year, reaching out to communities across the country to showcase for Americans the investments they have made toward their national defense.
Participating in L.A. Navy Week 2011 are Lincoln, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), mine countermeasures ship USS Champion (MCM 4), Carrier Air Wing 2, and personnel from Carrier Strike Group 9, Maritime Expeditionary Security Group 31, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 3 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 1.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is in Los Angeles between at-sea training and certification periods ahead of a deployment scheduled for the end of the year.