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    Little Creek Culinary Specialists Take Pride in Boosting Morale



    Story by April Phillips 

    Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story

    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – An old cliché says the way to the heart is through the stomach. While that may or may not be true, Navy culinary specialists at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story’s Gator Inn Galley know that delicious, healthy meals are a key part of morale for the service members and Department of Defense civilians they serve.
    The team of 23 Navy culinary specialists and 17 civilians at the Gator Inn Galley prepare and serve three meals a day, seven days a week, for anywhere from 150 to 250 diners. For the Navy’s 248th birthday celebration Oct. 13, they planned for a full house and prepared a feast including grilled steak, breaded shrimp, baked chicken, multiple side dishes, and desserts. A lot of work goes into cooking food for so many people.
    “We prepare overnight,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Carlyle Campbell. “We marinate the meat and chop the veggies and get everything ready.”
    Preparation is necessary, but galley supervisor Culinary Specialist 1st Class Kindall Moore said there’s something even more important.
    “Love is the biggest thing. We cook every day. That’s the easy part, but love is the main thing. People have a hard day, but they can come to the galley and we boost their morale,” he said.
    That sentiment is confirmed by diners Staff Sgt. Dominique Lewis and Sgt. Zachary Lundquist, both instructors at the Naval School Music Marine Detachment, located at Little Creek. They eat lunch regularly at the galley and appreciate the effort that goes into creating the meals.
    “The healthy options are clearly labeled, which is helpful,” Lewis said. He also stated that good food is an integral part of morale. “I definitely appreciate that we have trained service members here preparing the food. It’s a lot better.”
    No Navy birthday celebration is complete without cake. The Gator Inn Galley offered a large, intricately decorated cake large for diners. It was crafted by Culinary Specialist Chief Ricardo Valentin, a self-taught decorator who learned through trial and error. He was assisted by Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Kirsten Click and Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Jean Agagas.
    “It’s important to share this knowledge and inspire them to take pride in everything they do,” Valentine said. Click agreed, and said the end result made her feel very good about her work.
    Many diners said the finished cake looked like a piece of art, complete with Navy ships, submarines and aircraft set off by an anchor chain made of frosting.
    As diners lingered to enjoy the Navy birthday feast, the staff of the Gator Inn Galley had little time to reflect on their success. They were back at work with another meal to serve in just a few hours.



    Date Taken: 10.13.2023
    Date Posted: 10.17.2023 11:01
    Story ID: 455953
    Location: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, US

    Web Views: 26
    Downloads: 1