In 1973, one cook from the U.S.S. Stein (DE 1065) exchanged places with a cook from a Royal Navy ship for a week. Though the navies enjoyed a common seafaring tradition, each navy had developed its own culinary tradition. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about British Navy fair from the British cook.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gary Prill, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East Detachment Sigonella
BURGAS, Bulgaria (NNS) -- Culinary specialists from guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) met with culinary arts students of the Burgas High School to provide techniques and training as part of a community service project, Oct. 26, 2011.
During the event, the crew worked alongside students making cultural dishes, desserts and appetizers that they later enjoyed at lunch. The event also gave the Sailors a chance to meet with residents and experience the rich history and culture of Bulgaria.
"The lunch was amazing," said Lt. Jonathan Black, command chaplain, Philippine Sea. "It was a great chance for us to enjoy another culture while also embracing the idea of hospitality towards our host."
Every Sailor was given the chance to do their part in preparing the meal. Some worked with the culinary students preparing the main course, while others showed the students how to prepare some side dishes like ceviche and cherry turnovers.
Interactions with the local community can help build cultural understanding, trust and strengthen the relationships between Bulgaria and United States.
"I really love the opportunity to go out and display our talents and learn from other people who also love to cook," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Eber Barraza. "I was given the opportunity to share a little of my local culture by making ceviche for people who have never tried Hispanic foods."
Following the meal, the crew toured the school's dining facility, where the students have the daily responsibility of providing lunch for all of the students.
"I've always wanted to be a chef, and it was very interesting for me to see U.S. Navy chefs work," said Desislav Lilov, a Bulgarian culinary student. "I enjoy learning about other country's food, because my dream is to cook true Bulgarian food in Japan some day or even America."
Philippine Sea is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the Black Sea and serves to promote peace and security in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.