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    Chinese immigrant finds life goals in the Navy

    Chinese immigrant finds life goals in the Navy

    Courtesy Photo | Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Bella Yuying Liu, assigned to Airborne Command and...... read more read more



    Story by Russ Stewart 

    Naval Supply Systems Command

    Born and raised in Qingdao, China, this Michelin-star chef found her way into the US Navy where, as a Culinary Specialist (CS), she brings her experience and enthusiasm to the table benefitting her fellow Sailors.

    Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Bella Yuying Liu, assigned to Airborne Command and Control Squadron 123 (VAW 123), immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was 20 and lived in Queens, New York before enlisting at 30 years old in 2022.

    Liu lost her father during the COVID pandemic and took on the role of caring for her mother, choosing the stability of a career in the Navy over her present job at a 2-star Michelin restaurant in New York.

    “I got a flyer from a Navy recruiter and realized the benefits from the Navy was what I needed to take care of my family,” shared Liu. “I knew that I could be a great CS and create a great career in the Navy because I had fine dining experience already, then I just decided to join after the first conversation with my recruiter.”

    Navy Bootcamp and ‘A’ School (where Sailors receive specialized training specific to their chosen career field) prepared her well for life in the Navy and as a CS. Liu applied for naturalization after enlisting and became a US citizen in 2023.

    “I had a great time in both bootcamp and ‘A’ school, actually it was a good time for me to relax and refresh myself,” recalled Liu. “I learned a lot about mental rehearsals and warrior’s toughness which are good for me to be a better person, I really enjoyed that time.”

    After training, Liu reported to VAW 123 where she was pleasantly surprised by both the tone of her first Navy command and the illumination of career possibilities.

    “Our chain of command is very responsible and friendly. They always take care of me and support me to participate the competition and other training class,” said Liu. “It did change my impression about being a Sailor, I realized that anything is possible in the Navy if you really believe yourself and also work hard on it.”

    The competition Liu referred to is the Joint Culinary Training Exercise (JCTE), where eleven Navy chefs from across the fleet competed with chefs from each of the armed forces March 4-10, at Fort Gregg-Adams (formerly Fort Lee), Virginia.

    The JCTE is the largest military culinary competition in North America. The competition is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and showcases the talents of military chefs from around the globe. JCTE is considered one of the premier culinary competitions in the military, and is highly regarded within the culinary industry.

    “The best part to being a CS for me was the chance to participate in the competition, and others,” Liu said. “I enjoy being able to provide fine dining experience, even in the Navy, like cooking in the White House and cooking for flag mess.”

    Liu and the Navy Culinary Arts Team (NCAT) have begun training for the follow-on ACF competition, which their participation in JCTE qualified them for. For the near future, Liu’s goals remain clear.

    “I will try my best to get another medal for the whole armed forces during the ACF national competition, and to also work hard to be ready for my 2nd Class exam,” declared Liu.

    A relatively new Sailor, Liu nonetheless envisions an entire career with clear goals that only the Navy experience can provide.

    “My career in the Navy will be outstanding, and I believe that I will achieve my goals and grow personally and professionally every day,” Liu shared.

    CS3 Liu is a prime example that a career in the Navy can offer more opportunities than may be found in the civilian workplace and that a CS in the Navy is more than solely cooking in a galley.

    “It all depends on what kind of CS you want to be,” concluded Liu.

    The Navy Food Service Program, and through the program Navy Culinary Specialists around the globe, is part of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and provides operational and financial policy guidance designed to improve the quality of life for Sailors by ensuring our Navy general messes efficiently and economically deliver high-quality nutritious foods that exceed customer expectations.

    NAVSUP is headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP and the Navy Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor & family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars.

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    Date Taken: 05.30.2023
    Date Posted: 05.30.2023 10:33
    Story ID: 445749
    Location: FORT GREGG-ADAMS, VA, US 
    Hometown: QINGDAO, 37, CN
    Hometown: QUEENS, NY, US

    Web Views: 167
    Downloads: 0