The latest visit of crew members from the PCU (pre-commissioning unit) Colorado was structured to take a different direction. On this trip two junior Culinary Specialists, CSSN’s Oyedolapo Oworu and Thomas Carswell, traveled the state working under the guidance of Chefs employed at the top 5 star resorts to learn Colorado cuisine. This was designed to add a unique personality to dishes prepared for the crew onboard the soon to be commissioned USS Colorado (SSN 788).
Throughout the visit the Chefs were heard to say “We want to teach basics that they can take out to sea, while sourcing food products that are generally available and approved through Navy supply channels”.
Factored into the thought process was the fact that 400 meals are prepared per day, 24 hours and day seven days a week. This is done with a team of seven Culinary Specialists led by a Chief Petty Officer…and in a galley measuring roughly 10 by 20 feet.
Throughout the week visits included the Four Seasons Resort, Vail; the Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, the Brown Palace, Denver; and Tom’s Urban in the lower downtown Denver entertainment district.
Not all events involved work as the crewmen were recognized during festivities at the Air Force/Navy football game and on the field as “Heroes of the Match” for the Colorado Rapids professional soccer team.
Projected in the Sailors’ manner was a pride of rating (training specialty), pride of being a Navy Sailor and submariner. “Cooking is more than a job, it’s an expression of creativity and an art form,” stated Seaman Oworu. This sense of pride does not come without superior leadership which is a cornerstone of U.S. Navy teamwork. This same uplifting style of leadership was observed throughout the various visits. The Chefs were noted for the respect they afforded all members of their staff. “Treat your employees as you would your guests,” was stated by Chef Johan Van Niekerk early in the visit, and observed throughout the week’s various events.
“In submarines where Sailors live in close quarters for months at a time, there are few distractions from their official duties. In this environment meals ARE morale”, stated Seaman Carswell, “They improve the ship’s ability to fight”.
This “namesake” crew visit provided high quality professional development and a bonding between the men and women of the U.S. Navy and many Coloradans. In summarizing the supporters who made this week such a resounding success, thanks go committee members Shauna and Yale King, Candice Green, Deb and Randy Zeller, Dan Puleio, and John and Florence Mackin.
Story by Committee Member and NRD Denver Public Affairs, Dan Puleio