Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Cole C. Pielop

PACIFIC OCEAN – The Sailors working in USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) galley, who serve more than 20,000 meals a day to feed the crew of more than 5,000, really have their work cut out for them.

When most of the crew is heading to bed, the galley’s night crew is just starting to get things cooking.

“We rely on each other. The day crew is so busy serving that many people, they don’t have enough time to prepare all of the meals. That’s where we come in,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Arthur Joseph, from Dallas, night shift galley supervisor. “If it wasn’t for the night crew, the day crew wouldn’t be able to do as much as they do.”

It may be a bit quieter at night, but work never stops in the galley. Even after midnight, the crew is still hustling around getting things ready for breakfast.
“It’s around 2 a.m. and we are already beginning to prepare about 1,200 hashbrowns,” said Joseph. “There are also about 1,800 portions of eggs that are being prepared. We have to start early or else we will be behind the next day. Nobody wants that.”
On top of cleaning utensils, refilling condiments, and getting the mess decks ready for breakfast, night check has to prepare a meal.
“Some people are cleaning and preparing for tomorrow, but we can’t forget about tonights meal,” said Joseph. “Midrats (midnight rations) alone we serve about 800 meals. Our night crew is good though, we get the work done.”
While the main event may be in the primary kitchen, the vegetable prep kitchen, where a variety of items are prepared for the next meal, is constantly buzzing with activity.
“We are preparing vegetables throughout the whole night,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Emmanuel Njoku, from Minneapolis. “It’s a non-stop process. As people are coming through and eating we are just trying to keep up.”

Adjusting to sleeping during the days isn’t always easy, especially with noisy people in the berthing and 1MC announcements. Once past that, many Sailors, like Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Christopher Settle, from Columbus, Ind., actually begin to enjoy working at night.
“Nights are just really nice and quiet,” said Settle, currently a food service assistant working in the aft galley. “While most people are sleeping it’s nice to be able to just go to the hangar bay to watch the ocean. I’ve really begun to appreciate the quiet.”
Serving food 23-hours-a-day requires quite a bit of hard work that often goes unseen. So next time you’re headed to your rack, remember, there’s a CS in the galley preparing your next meal.

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