A Salute to Military Chefs

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Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Sullivan, a food service specialist, prepares appetizers for the 2010 USO of the Metropolitan Washington Salute to the Military Chef dinner. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)
Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Sullivan, a food service specialist, prepares appetizers for the 2010 USO of the Metropolitan Washington Salute to the Military Chef dinner. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)

As America prepares for Thanksgiving – a holiday that has become synonymous with good food – and lots of it, we thought it a fitting time to salute the men and women who prepare food for tens of thousands of Coast Guard men and women every day. Today, we share our thanks for the Coast Guard’s Food Service Specialists.

Post written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk

One of the most forgot-about-jobs in the Coast Guard is the Food Service Specialist. They are the men and women who keep their fellow shipmates well fed to have the energy to complete the many missions of the Coast Guard. A lot of times, they are up well before and go to bed well after most of the crew, serving up to four or more meals a day.

Last week, the USO of Metropolitan Washington held its annual dinner to salute military chefs. All services were represented. Representing the Coast Guard was Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Sullivan, a food service specialist and enlisted aide to the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara. He joined chefs from all the services to prepare a six-course meal demonstrating their talents and hard work.

“I was excited about cooking for this event. It was my largest plated meal that I have done, 180 plates,” said Sullivan. “It was great to be able to meet and work with other chefs.”

Sullivan has been a food service specialist for nine years and an enlisted aide for one year. His passion for cooking and drive to better his skills led him to apply for the enlisted aide position. When he received orders to become an enlisted aide, it meant he had to also receive more culinary training.

“I felt that I had reached my potential as a shipboard cook and decided it was time for a new challenge and time to take myself out of my comfort zone,” said Sullivan. “I like a challenge and I never want to stop learning.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Sullivan and Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Bishop, Coast Guard food service specialists, prepare a course for the 2010 USO of the Metropolitan Washington Salute to the Military Chef dinner. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)
Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Sullivan and Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Bishop, Coast Guard food service specialists, prepare a course for the 2010 USO of the Metropolitan Washington Salute to the Military Chef dinner. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk)

Also during the USO dinner, another member of the Coast Guard was recognized for being the Coast Guard Enlisted Aide of the year, Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Bishop, a food service specialist and enlisted aide to the Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Bob Papp.

“I’m so honored to have been chosen to be the Coast Guard enlisted aide of the year,” said Bishop.

Bishop has been a food service specialist for nine years and an enlisted aide for three years. He became an aide because of the advice and recommendation from Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Bowen (ret.), the 10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, who thought he would be good at the job. He enjoys being an aide because of the many opportunities to be creative and work with the senior leadership of the Coast Guard.

“Being an aide has given me the chance to be creative with my cooking since I’m cooking for smaller amount of people,” said Bishop.

The USO took a night to recognize how important cooks are to the operations of the military services and showcase their talents. The Coast Guard has many support jobs that help keep the service going; food service specialist is only one of them. However, without cooks, the Coast Guard wouldn’t be able to run the same.

Interested in becoming a Coast Guard chef? Click here for more information.

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