USS HARPERS FERRY, At Sea (Sept. 5, 2013) – In an effort to teach the ship’s cooks innovative culinary skills, Sailors and Marines assigned to USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) hosted a professional chef through the Navy’s Adopt-a-Ship program from Aug. 23 through Sept. 2.
“The things I teach to people are number one: don’t serve anything to your shipmates you wouldn’t serve to your grandmother and tell her you’re proud of it; number two is taste the food and then give it to someone else in the galley to taste it; number three is look for height, texture, and color,” said Chef Adam Weiner, a culinary arts instructor and member of the American Culinary Federation and the Chef's Association of the Pacific Coast.
The Adopt-a-Ship program is a volunteer program made possible through a partnership with the Naval Supply Systems Command, the military culinary community and other national foodservice organizations. The program helps the ship’s Culinary Specialists improve their food techniques and provide variation in their cooking styles.
Sailors and Marines participating in the program also receive continuing education credits issued by the American Culinary Federation as they may otherwise not have the opportunity to gain industry experience.
One reason why the Navy facilitates such a program is to enable professional chefs to impart their best practices with the crew.
“First of all, you eat with your eyes,” says Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Byron Green, the galley supervisor. “If it looks good, you’re going to want to eat it. You may want to put a couple parsley flakes on it and put something with color on it. He [Weiner] emphasized color, texture, and height. If you put love into it, then it looks good and tastes good and you want all the senses to come together so you get a good meal.”
Weiner has been with the program for six and a half years, visiting ships and shore duty stations across the United States, but thinks his time on the Harpers Ferry was especially meaningful.
“The crew here is very blessed. Every one of those CSs [Culinary Specialists] has good passion, good feel, and good knowledge,” said Weiner. “Overall, this was a very humbling experience as I got to teach great people.”
In addition to sharing his expertise with the cooks, Weiner observed daily operations and met Sailors and Marines at all levels working throughout the ship.
“It’s the men and women, the crew, the chiefs, the Captain, the officers and everyone else that’s doing all the hard work that makes my job easy. I got to watch things many civilians never get to see, and it sometimes rendered me speechless,” said Weiner.
Harpers Ferry is currently underway on a Western Pacific deployment as part of the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group.