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Everything posted by BubbleheadChef

  1. I posted a few pictures of me with my cooks. Here is the link http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=mo...lbum&album=2127 I am the oldest one in those pictures at a whopping 27 years of age. In the group picture I am the one on the front left (as you are looking at it). The guy in the middle is my right hand man, CS2 Vincent Gregonis, 27 (6 months younger than me), ENS Jacob Bartunek, the Supply Officer. Back row Left to Right: CS3 Chad Glissen, 21, from New Mexico, Middle is CS3 David Vigil, 24, from San Jose, California and Zachary Schmitz (20) from Auburn, NY Not pictured is CS3 Matthew Smith, 22, from Vermont. Poor guy got stuck with the duty that day.
  2. In regards to the budget, just like anything, you learn to adapt and cost it out. Being the military, they have procedures to cost EVERYTHING down to the 1/1000th of a cent. I am not exagerating (sp?). So, when you get the system down, you can pretty much do whatever you want, because that is the only way you know how. As far as what meals my shipmates avoid ashore, I can't really answer that very well. The crew is such an eclectic bunch, it is very difficult to nail down any one thing or even any 10 things. I will ask a few of my friends tomorrow. But, now that I am thinking about it, most of the guys can spot a dehydrated egg omelet from 10,000 yards. And won't touch it either. As far as what meal is a non-negotiable item, it would have to be 3 meals in particular. 1. Fajita Day. The guys love it. I love it, albeit for different reasons. The hardest part is keeping all the fresh for the L,T,O and sour cream. We make a pretty mean salsa fresco with canned tomatoes (yes I know putting canned and fresco in the same sentence is counterintuitive, but it works!). 2. Anglo-Chinese day. I call it anglo-chinese because it is like nothing you have had in any chinese restaurant. It has the same names, but not at all the same taste. That being said, the guys kill it. I do a szchewan chicken, beef and broccoli, sweet and sour pork and chicken, fried rice, sesame green beans, steamed rice, whatever it is (BTW not all of those entrees at on the same day, I have two anglo-chinese meals). 3. Pizza Night. 20 sheet pans of home made pizza with toppings that you wouldnt get anywhere else. We do a buffalo chicken pizza, a BLT pizza (if you have never had one, TRY IT!!!), bacon cheeseburger, sausage and peppers, clams casino, and the list goes on and on. With that, we also run a good bit of pub grub (buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, things like that). It is a SACRED RITUAL to have pizza the night before pulling into port. Gotta have, no doubts about it. As far as coffee, we use a pre-ground Starbucks Light Note coffee on crews mess and Starbucks French Roast in the Wardroom. We shy away from grinding beans for the main coffee pots on crews mess due to the sheer volume of coffee being made. We couldn't keep a machine long enough. Then there is the noise issue. We do grind it for the wardroom on occasion though and I usually steal some from there. Daddy likes his coffee
  3. That is so gracious of you, BubbleheadChef! You're a welcome guest in the Fresser kitchen anytime. This is just the kind of courtesy that would generate loyal customers at any civilian restaurant you might work at, post-Navy. ← I appreciate the invite, but I truly believe it is the right thing to do, ESPECIALLY with a captive audience. They can't really go to synagogue or mass or service or temple nor spend that time with their families. So, I try to bring a little of that to them. I feel that these guys are like family, so I try to treat them as such. The same way I would run a restaurant "out there".
  4. I have only been in CT since April, first in Old Lyme and then out here in Mystic. But since April I have only been home about a month and a half, been out to sea. When I am home, we typically eat at home. What we do try to do is support our local vendors and buy our fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers and we have a farmers market down the road from us. We buy what they have and then figure out what to do. With the wife being pregnant, a two year old daughter, a modest military salary, and never being home, we really haven't had the opportunity to dine at some of the higher end places yet but look forward to dining in Olde Mystic at some of the great seafood places and hopefully this spring taking a trip to NYC to show my wife REAL FOOD. Check Sportscenter! GO NAVY Sorry Army
  5. We stuff a few pieces of excercise equipment on the boat. We have an excercise bike, a few free weights and an elyptical (sp?) machine. Pretty obvious that I dont use it, huh? LOL. We do have a lot of movies. The major studios in Hollywood send us first run movies, sometimes even while they are out in movie theaters. I do play quite a bit of cribbage between meals or during slow days. On saturday nights, a lot of guys play poker. The most popular game on board I would say is spades. We do have an XBox and a PS2 that some guys play, but I just don't have that kind of time. I do read A LOT, on average 10-15 books a month. That is where I first read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Imagine the looks I got laughing at that out loud. Believe it or not, the galleys haven't got much bigger since the days of the Growler, but have certainly become better equipped. You get used to it and it is to the point now where I actually kind of enjoy it.
  6. After 14 years in commercial kitchens, I have my share of scars. The 2 worst had to be while on my first submarine when I had just finished draining the hot grease out of the fryer when the boat took a 20 down angle and all that grease spilled out of the pan holding it and burnt my legs up to the middle of my shins. Blisters and burnt leg hair. Not a good day. The other was again on the boat when I was going to take a cake out of the oven and the boat did a large up angle and all the racks came out onto my arms (talk about looking like a zebra!) and the cake (which I quickly found out wasn't QUITE done) ended up down the neck of my shirt and quickly bonded to my skin. Another not so pleasant day. I have tons of these, maybe sometime I will tell you about the espresso maker that blew up in my face.
  7. A lot of people mistakenly believe that the reactor supplies the power to the ship. In truth, it is the coffee bean. Without coffee, the ship would never leave the pier. LOL. We are allowed to take our coffee wherever we go provided it is in a COVERED cup and most spaces onboard have a coffee pot in it, plus the 3 vacuum pots I have on the mess. My favorite quote on this website belongs to jsolomon, "It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. " Speaking of, there is way to much blood in my coffee stream and I need to go get another cup. Please excuse me.
  8. The new push is civilian partnerships so we are getting away from the "traditional" military techniques. I think that is really making a huge difference in Navy food service (I cannot vouch for the other services, but I imagine it is the same). We are now doing a lot of different programs with civilian partners. The three that stick out in my head are: Food Service Internships with Local businesses (usually 2-4 weeks), Chef at Sea (where a certified chef will actually come out on a ship/submarine and conduct training, and Hometown Sponsor (I think it is a submarine thing) where we will partner with a restaurant/chef in the City/State we are named after i.e. the USS Dallas has a partner in Dallas, TX and the USS Kentucky has a partnership with a chef in Louisville, KY. Amazing programs resulting in a much higher quality military cook.
  9. Yes, we still have the NFMT (Navy Food Management Team). They come down and "assist" with your operation. I really don't care for most of them, while some of the individuals are absolutely top shelf. The problem with most of the members of the Teams are the fact that they aren't really in touch with what is REALLY good food and service. For example, the last time they visited my boat, I had points deducted for not garnishing my serving line. They wanted me to make little palm trees from bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Kind of funny and something I would teach a child to get them interested in the Culinary Arts, but certainly not something I am going to do for grown men. When I protested that I can't really afford to spare what little fresh vegetables I had for a "garnish" (ok, a little white lie, but they dont have to know that), they the proceeded to take paprika and dehy parsley out of my spice locker and "garnished" my steam line with it. In reallity, it appeared as if they just dumped this stuff on my line to make it look like a red and green mess. It really did look like I had spilled to containers of spices on my line. When I protested again, they just kept taking points off my score and finally I just kicked them off my boat. They kept yelling about how I would never win the competition we were in (the ADM Ney awards) if we don't "garnish" our line, blah blah blah. I wonder how dumb they felt when we proceeded to win it two years in a row? I absolutely agree with "A" school being a joke for me, but it was really good at getting the guys who had never held a knife to get used to a commercial kitchen. i also agree with the statement that military cooks make a great addition to any brigade, but unfortunately there is a lot of wasted talent because the guys that get out or retire dont know how to or dont want to be in a kitchen anymore. You have to love this job or it will eat you alive.
  10. Only when they sit... ← A lot of guys bring laptops with them but use them for games while underway. When we get into port, no matter where in the world, there is usually a WiFi hotspot they can use to log on and surf the 'net. I, however, am not one of those guys, I choose to spend my money on food rather than technology. The memories I have of Rota, Spain, Haifa, Israel, Palma Di Majorca, La Maddelena, Italy, Corfu, Greece, Aksaz, Turkey and the rest of the places I have been are much richer for not having sat in an internet Cafe.
  11. I am on leave right now, because I am in the middle of a transfer to a different boat (from the USS Virginia to the USS Dallas), but while out to sea we dont have internet access (not many WiFi hotspots under the ocean), but we do have an email server dedicated to communicating with our families. That is a fairly new thing, when I first got on submarines, the only way we had to communicate was a telegram type message called a Family Gram. It was limited to 40 words and we couldn't send them out, we could only recieve them from our families. The land based soldiers and Marines do have limited access to the internet from thier base camps, but it is ridiculously overcrowded (50 computers for 1,000 guys). I can't knowledgeably talk about what that is like, as I have never been but my mother, aunt, and uncle are all in Kuwait working for the Army (contractors, not active duty) and that is the gouge I get from them.
  12. LOL, yes lots of big messes. In fact, on the 22nd of November we were getting ready to pull back into Groton (where I am stationed) and we had to surface in LARGE seas. We were taking 20-30 degree rolls with 10-15 degree pitching. Unfortunately, they decided to do this right before the meal started and didn't tell us. So, needless to say, things were flying. Then, just as the Captain walked into the wardroom, a soup pot with 1.5 gallons of hot tomato soup went FLYING across the room. We're talking 10 feet through the air. At about the same time, a 6" half pan full of chocolate mousse launched itself from the serving line on the enlisted side of the mess. The Skipper took one look at it and said, "I think I'll skip lunch today". We spent close to 3 hours cleaning that up. It sucks, but it is all part of the job. It's actually kind of funny when you look back on it, but not so funny while cleaning it up. I have easily a hundred of those stories, but they are all pretty much the same so I'll just post the most current one. Even if we know it is going to be a big sea state (sea state=how rough it is), we just try to prep earlier so there are less things out. I do have to secure (turn off) my deep fat fryer in anything over 12 foot seas so that I don't expose the coils and start a fire. We then just start oven frying instead if we can. If not, we may just drop the menu item and do something else.
  13. GO NAVY BEAT ARMY We usually do steak dinner and offer assorted amuse....remember, mostly blue collar types, especially at the Chiefs Club which is where I will be spending Army/Navy Day. I tried to do some different things once but was almost drummed out of there. So it is mostly chicken wings, mozzarella stics, and "pub grub". Not exactly haute cuisine, but when you are washing it all down with more beer than any sane group of people should EVER consume, you want to keep it simple.
  14. DBF! My granddad was a smokeboat guy and my dad's first boat was a smoke boat in the late 60's. We do still have to store cases of food on the deck and store cans of coffee and flour (the 35 lb type) in the engine room and #10 cans on the deck of the forward compartment. Definitely no storing beef in the showers, the ST's would have a fit! (ST's mean Sonar Technicians whom we lovingly refer to as Shower Tech's due to thier apparent love of the "rain locker"). We will put the potatoes and onions in fan rooms (where the air is recirculated through the boat) and have been known to strap them up in the overheads.
  15. What sleep? LOL. The crew operates on 18 hour day, while my cooks and I work on a 24 hour schedule. I stay up for the service of all four meals and try to sleep between mid rats and breakfast. The crew stands a 6 hour watch. They wake up, eat, and then go on watch for 6 hours. They then get relieved by the next next section, go down to eat, then do whatever maintenence or qualifications, training, clean up, etc for the next 6 hours. Then they go back to bed for 6 hours. They get up and repeat the process. They work the 18 hour workday so they aren't standing the same watch all the time. My guys work the 24 hour schedule so that we have a meal prepared and ready to serve every 6 hours for the oncoming and off going sections.
  16. First, I want to add my thanks as well. Your word choice caught my eye, "geedunk." Is that mostly a navy term, or something you picked up from someone else? Curious, bc my Father-In-Law calls it that, too, and he's retired Navy Reserves. Thanks! -edited bc I can't type.... ← Greetings, Chief, Welcome to eGullet! I say this as a new member myself, although I have been lurking for a while before joining. I am no longer in the Navy; I was with NAVAIR, but also spent some time on board a destroyer, which is probably as close to sub-sized crew as the Navy gets. The food was quite good, but the destroyer cooks always seemed to have a chip on their shoulder, because some socially inept someone could always be counted on to say, “yeah, but it still is not as good as (fill in various sub numbers).” LOL, all legends have a core of truth… Have you heard about the push to send Navy cooks to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA)? As I understand it, this was intended to both increase the quality of Navy cooking, and to enhance the career certification development of Navy food service personnel. I think this program was beta-tested a couple of years ago with one carrier group, but do not know if it was implemented Navy-wide. Allura, the term “gedunk” originated with the sound that a vending machine makes as it delivers a drink or snack that you have selected and paid for. You put your money into the soda or soft drink machine, press the button for your selection, and… GEDUNK! Your snack or drink arrives. “Gedunk” ration definitions onboard ship seems to have evolved to include any quick-grab food not taken as a regular meal. It has become a noun, designating the snack food area or room. In recent years it sort of overlaps with what is still called MidRats, or Mid-Watch Rations. MBC ← I have heard of a few people actually going to the CIA but I don't think the Navy is going to do that for all its cooks. I went for a two week course, but that was as a reward for winning the NEY award (Best Food Service in the Submarine Fleet). I do know that they are starting to send more and more cooks to civilian culinary schools (I don't know the name, but there is one they send them to in Chicago). And navy food service is starting to try to teach us more in the Civilian manner to help with employment on the outside world. There is a lot of bias in the civilian community against military cooks. We aren't exactly known as world class chefs!
  17. The correct term is "ultra quiet" and yes we do occasionally have to do that. It doesnt only hamper cooking, it stops it altogether. We have to shut everything down and hand slice lunch meats and cheeses and just put out sandwiches. All of the off watch cooks go to bed and I stay up and feed the relieving watchstations. It doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen.
  18. It would make a great reality show until we have to edit almost all of thier tapes because we are on mission and everything is hush hush. We did however just have a video crew from the National Geographic team just ride us for a week and get some pretty good shots of the galley and food prep. A lot of it will probably be cut though because they were there for the technology, not the food. The film crew certainly ate well, but thier mission is thier mission. About the guys.....we have a saying. "A bitc*ing sailor is a happy sailor". Nowhere is this more prevelent than about the food. They all appreciate the food, but EVERYBODY (including me) would rather have crap food at home with my pregnant wife and daughter (who turns 2 today!!!!, Happy Birthday Grace), than all the lobster and prime rib in the world out to sea.
  19. Yeah . . . But you have that sonar and the fish noises. (I have read all of the Clancy novels. ) I will bet that they know if the fishies are munching the garbage. ← Believe it or not, the fish aren't the noise offenders.....its the SHRIMP. Imagine 5000000000000000 people snapping thier fingers at the same time and that is what it sounds like. If only I could drag a net....we would be eating WELL that night!
  20. I am beginining to think Mr. Perlow knows as much about my boat as I do! Well done sir. Yes, we use the photonics system and we are the first to have it. The image of a submarine control room you have had for years was completely off base until the Virginia came out. We now have a submarine that looks like the movies. We have hi def plasma screen TV's throughout the boat that can "see" what photonics can see. It is really amazing.
  21. Are there observation windows where you can watch them? Do you ever go fishing when the boat is at the surface? That would be awesome. "Join the navy, see the world and eat all the seafood!" ← No, no windows. I have gone fishing from my boat but it really depends on the Captain. It is really up to his discretion. That and since we spend most of our time submerged, there isnt much opportunity to fish anyway. But, I know a lot of die hard fisherman that have chartered fishing boats in every port we pulled in to.
  22. Most guys will bring soda. On my boat they don't really need to bring much else because I bring a lot of candy, popcorn, and other "geedunk" (junkfood) for them. If they do bring stuff, they have to store it in thier rack so it really is an issue of underwear or soda? not much of a choice. Underwear usually wins. On my last run that lasted 90 days, I went through: 576 10 oz bottles of hot sauce 1920 16 oz bottles of mayo well over 3000 18 oz bottles of Ketchup about 900 10 oz bottles of yellow mustard 9000 lbs of flour 300 dz eggs 1500 lbs sugar 1400 lbs of pasta (spaghetti, egg noodles, lasagna, elbow macaroni, angel hair) 3200 lb ribeye roll 2800 lb chicken just a few of my 900 line item inventory
  23. Well, there are always the "off" meals, but I haven't made anything so bad that they wanted to mutiny. There was the time I went overboard with the cumin for the Southwestern Chicken Tortilla Soup..... And then if we dont have fresh fruits and vegetables on the pier when we get in somewhere. That never fails to p**s somebody off. I dont have a "budget" in hard dollars or anything. I get a certain amount for every person onboard ($7.56/day) and can go over/under budget every month until the end of the fiscal year when I have to account for all my rations and dollars spent on food. The goal is to use every dollar they give you and make sure your crew is fed. We will resupply wherever we can, wherever in the world we are. But due to customs requlations, we have to have all foreign fruits and vegetables off prior to returning to a US port. Canned and frozen foods have to be minimized but we don't have to get rid of them like we do fruits and veggies. I have 5 cooks that work for me. Thier hours on watch run between 14 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week at sea and 10-12 hours a day in port with a rotating duty day usually every 3-4 days where they have to stay onboard all night. I generally work 18-20 hours a day at sea and catch cat naps when I can. Yes, we bake fresh bread every meal except midrats. We make all our breakfast pastries from scratch (definitely not my strong suit). We try to make the breakfast pastry something easy to pick up and eat on the run, so not a lot of the more exotic pastries. I will cheat and use commercial mille fuelle just because it takes so long to make 100 portions of it. We do a lot of muffins, yeast raised donuts, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, etc. For lunch and dinner we will make biscuits, hot rolls, french bread, oatmeal rolls, or something like that.
  24. The standard answer is, "we are always 'stowed for sea'" meaning that everything is in it place at all times. Only the cutting board, knife, and whatever it is that you are prepping is out. In reality, we use the same tricks as any other cook. We use damp side towels under our pans to hold them still and the like. It does get challenging however when your kitchen tilts 20 degrees up and 15 to the side at the same time. Or when you are on the surface in the North Atlantic doing 20 degree rolls from side to side for 15 hours. On top of everything flying around, you have to contend with sea sickness (yes, we get sea sick, dont laugh even the toughest, saltiest sailor will get queasy after doing that for awhile). But, for the most part everything stays in lockers, in specially made shelving, and the like.
  25. Garbage is positively my least favorite aspect of my job. We have 3 kinds of trash on board. 1st is pulpable food waste. That just goes down a grinder not too dissimilar to the ones most of us have at home. Then it goes into a storage tank and when it gets full, we feed the interesting underwater sea life. 2nd is dry, compactable trash. That we put into a 13" in diameter 27" tall aluminum can with holes in it. We then compress it with a 3000 lb hydraulic ram. Repeat until can is full and weighs 50-60 lbs. The problem with this is when you arent paying attention and somebody puts a piece of wet trash in 3000 lb hydraulics, you get a very very VERY disgusting shower (through the holes in the can) with whatever liquid was formerly in the can. When we have enough cans, we open what is basically a torpedo tube going out the bottom of the boat and create artificial reefs for the interesting underwater sea life. 3rd is wet trash. That goes into the same cans but double lined with cloth bag to prevent leakage. The bag is biodegradable and in approximately 2 weeks degrades enough to feed the interesting underwater sea life. All told, it is quite the pain dealing with the waste from 150 people a day.
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