By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Daniel Schumacher

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) hosted three award-winning celebrity chefs, known as the “Messlords,” March 6-9.

The Navy Entertainment-sponsored visit brought chefs, Pete Blohme, from Fairhope, Ala., Michael Hardin, from San Diego, and Jeff Conley, from Flagstaff, Ariz., on board to, meet with and entertain the crew through culinary shows and cooking demonstrations.

Throughout their stay, the Messlords assisted Stennis culinary specialists (CS) in their daily efforts to prepare meals for the crew of more than 5,000 Sailors and held food contests encouraging creativity and technical skill.

“Our goal is to put out something different from the usual meals and show the [CSs] different ways to use some of the products they already have,” said Blohme. “We’re fueling freedom one forkful at a time.”

On March 7, Stennis culinary specialists pitted their skills against the Messlords in a “Pros versus Joes” cook off.

“It was fun to see how our cooks compared to professional chefs,” said Machinist’s Mate Fireman Maria Cruzclaveria, from Kapolei, Hawaii.

On March 8, teams of culinary specialists from each of Stennis’ six galleys competed against one another in a food competition similar to the Food Network television show “Iron Chef,” with each team given the same ingredients to make an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. The teams presented their specially prepared appetizer, main course, and dessert to the judges, which consisted of the Messlords and
representatives from the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) senior leadership.

“I really got to enjoy the best our [CSs] had to offer,” said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 3rd Class Xavier McCrary, from Columbus, Miss. “and I have to say, I’m impressed.”

The Messlords mingled with the crew throughout their stay, sharing recipes and various cooking recommendations, signing autographs, and giving out signature souvenirs.

Conley explained that they wanted to do everything they could to thank the men and women in service who keep him and his family safe.

Before departing Stennis aboard a C-2A Greyhound, Stennis Sailors gave each Messlord a flight deck jersey stenciled with the chef’s name.

The JCSCSG, consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), is forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.

For more information on the JCSCSG, visit or

For more information on the Messlords, visit


Celebrity chef John Conley describes a recipe to Culinary Specialist Seaman Mary Syloria, from San Diego, in the wardroom three galley aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) as part of a Navy Entertainment sponsored visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christian B. Martinez / Released)