USS New Hampshire Competes for Prestigious Ney Award for Food Service Excellence
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), a finalist for the 2012 Capt. Edward F. Ney Memorial Awards for Food Service Excellence, hosted a two-man evaluation team aboard the Virginia-class submarine, Dec. 6.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Todd Grunlien, assigned to Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, performed the one-day inspection with his civilian counterpart, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Paul Jones from the International Food Service Executive Association (IFSEA). Together, this team inspected all aspects of the submarine's food service program.
"It's a one-day inspection, which evaluates all aspects of food service to include food preparation, sanitation, accountability, and sustainability," said Grunlien. "The final inspection is like the super bowl and to be nominated in the first place means you are the best of the best in food service operations."
Grunlien added that the inspection culminates a year of hard work and exceptional performance.
To best prepare the culinary specialists, Commanding Officer, Cmdr. John McGunnigle and the crew supported the Culinary Specialist Division and participated in various Iron Chef competitions throughout the year.
"The meals created during the various competitions were better than any restaurant I have dined at," said New Hampshire Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Sonar Technician (Submarines)(SS) Robert Dancik.
The prize for the winner of the various competitions, Dancik said, was to serve the best Iron Chef Award winning meal to the crew the following day.
Many of the food items on the menu during the inspection were previous Iron Chef winners to include, Pancho Villa soup, churros and "Death by Chocolate" cake.
"Just to be nominated as a Ney finalist is a reflection of how hard the team has worked," Lt. Jason Revitzer, supply officer, aboard New Hampshire. "USS New Hampshire has had a rigorous year in the way of operations, yet our team from our food service attendants all the way up to the senior leadership has pushed for excellence," said Revitzer.
Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SS) Oscar Veneszee who supervises the Culinary Specialist Division echoed the supply officer's sentiments.
"We are super ecstatic to be in the competition because it all starts in the oven," said Veneszee. "Usually successfully ships have a successful CS division."
This year there are four submarines vying for the prestigious Ney Award in the submarine category, according to Grunlien. The two East Coast submarines, in addition to USS New Hampshire being judged, is USS Newport News (SSN 750). The two West Coast submarines are USS Buffalo (SSN 715) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727) Gold.
The Secretary of the Navy and the IFSEA joined together to create the awards program in 1958 to improve Navy food operations and recognize excellent messes in the Navy. The award is named for Capt. Edward F. Ney who served as the head of the Subsistence Division of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounting, from 1940-1945. The results are expected to be announced in February 2012.