New Orleans’ Chefs Prepare Lunch for USS New Orleans
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class(SW/AW) Elena Velazquez
SAN DIEGO - Three renowned chefs from New Orleans spent a day in the galley of USS New Orleans (LPD 18) creating a top-notch specialty lunch for the crew of 300, Sept. 22.
Steven Pettus, managing partner; Darin Nesbit, executive chef; and Neil Mockovak, sous chef of the Bourbon House restaurant, created a Creole menu, which included blackened catfish Creole, shrimp tchefuncte, and Abita beer-braised greens, for the New Orleans built ship. “It’s been a lot of fun working onboard with the Sailors,” said Nesbit. “The ship is a different world for us. It has no stove tops or open flames, but it does have some nice flat tops; plus, everyone is so helpful and hardworking.”
According to Lt. j. g. Gregory Amos, food supply officer, the chefs were invited aboard to visit their city’s namesake ship and to create a spirited New Orleans-style meal.
The crew demonstrated their excitement for the meal by forming a line in front of the galley thirty minutes prior to lunch starting.
“You can smell this wonderful aroma as you walk by the galley. It draws you here and I’m sure the Sailors can’t help but to wait in line until lunch is served, it is hypnotizing,” said Lt. j. g. Amelia Tribble, 2nd division officer.
Walking around the ship, you could see the smiles and hear the buzz of how great the food smelled and tasted.
“Overall the event was a great success, not only has it maintained a relationship with our namesake city, you can walk around the mess decks and see what it does to the crew,” said Command Master Chief (SW) Jeffrey Kozlik. “Anytime you give Sailors a great meal, your always gonna build moral.”
Sailors also expressed how grateful they were for having the chefs onboard.
“The food was awesome. It has been a long time since I’ve had food like this,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Quintin Hendersonpeoples. “I’m glad they came, it is good to have a nice change of pace. I hope they come back next year.”
The ship’s culinary specialists worked with the nationally-renowned chefs for two days and learned a different style of cooking. “This is my first experience with Cajun style cooking and I’ve learned a lot working by their side,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Scott Plines.
The lunch ended with a ceremony where the commanding officer gave his gratitude and an invitation to the chefs to return every year. They were also presented with a plaque, command t-shirts, ball caps, and coins.
“We would like to have the chefs return every year and remind us of the great city this ship was not only named after, but where it was built,” said Commanding Officer Cmdr. Scott Davies. Davies went on to thank the chefs for the delicious meal and for working with the ship’s culinary specialists.