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    Freestyle Friday: New York’s galley brings morale to the crew

    ARABIAN GULF (NNS) –Aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the ship’s culinary specialists are taking a creative approach to change up their weekly routine and raise morale for the crew.

    The culinary specialists decided to make special meals that aren’t normally served for the Sailors and Marines aboard on what they call ‘Freestyle Fridays’.

    “I sat down with my [first class petty officers] at the beginning of the deployment and told them I want to do one special meal a week,” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Robert Phifer, leading chief petty officer of supply department’s S2 division aboard New York. “They brainstormed together and came up with ‘Freestyle Friday’. So every week around Wednesday, they sit down and come up with a theme meal for the upcoming Friday. They bring their idea to me and we discuss it in detail and then finalize the meal.”

    On the New York, the menu for each week does not differ very much: Tuesday they serve tacos and burritos, Wednesdays are burger days, Saturdays are reserved for pizza and wings, and steak and seafood are generally served on Sundays. Now, Fridays are for a special meal every week to bring a flavor from home to the ship.

    “The first classes come up with a menu based on a theme and what type of items we have available in our storeroom at the time,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Andrew Carlin. “We use these items to freestyle different dishes to appeal to a massive group of patrons. Every Monday we have a meeting to hash out what we would like to do for that week. Of course we have to get the thumbs up from Senior Chief Phifer for approval.”

    Past themes have included Cajun and Caribbean flavors and a grilled cheese day.

    “I made Friday my cheat day just so I could enjoy the Freestyle Friday meals,” said Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Nathan Valle, a New York Sailor. “My favorite meal was the Caribbean themed Freestyle Friday because of the yellow rice that almost reminded me of home.”

    These meals also serve as a good way for the first class petty officers to teach their junior Sailors in the galley.

    “The junior culinary specialists get the chance to learn a lot from the senior Sailors when these meals are being prepared,” said Ensign Dicoda Waugh, New York’s food service officer. “They take pride in what they do and the morale has definitely been boosted based on all the positive feedback received from the crew.”

    These meals also help to bring the galley crew closer together as a team and as a family.

    “Working together has helped us learn more about each other,” said Carlin. “Being in the galley together is a unique experience. We laugh together, tell stories, and put love into our products. When you work side by side with your shipmates, you learn a lot about them as a person.”

    The senior leadership in the galley say they could not be more proud of what the culinary specialists have done for the crew.

    “This is the meal the culinary specialists look forward in to serve to the crew,” said Phifer. “Their goal is to top the Freestyle Friday from the previous week. They love what they do and they are good at it. It feels great to know my Sailors are speaking life into the crew.”

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    Date Taken: 03.26.2020
    Date Posted: 04.17.2020 16:43
    Story ID: 367737
    Location: ARABIAN GULF

    Web Views: 58
    Downloads: 0