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Ship-shape chefs show off

AN EXCHANGE program run by the Catering Institute of Australia is paying dividends for both sailors and hotel chefs alike.

The program involves exchanging chefs from an Australian hotel with the cooks from a US Naval warship.

Recently cooks from a three-ship US maritime expeditionary force heading to the Persian Gulf took a turn in the Sheraton Hotel’s kitchens while Origin’s sous chef Andrew Thomas and some of his staff worked the galleys of the warships.

Mr Thomas said he found the experience of working in the cramped galley of the US ships a big change after a five-star hotel kitchen.

“On the ship you have to be very efficient with what you have,” he said.

The three US ships, the USS Fitzgerald, USS Hewitt and USS Higgins, each have 300-strong crews.

That means the galley on each ship serves about 1,000 meals per day.

The ships carry about US$70,000 worth of food in storage and are replenished every two weeks.

Mr Thomas said the Navy men found the experience of working in a bigger kitchen an eye-opener.

“They were very keen to learn,” he said.

“The crews were also very happy with the kangaroo we took on board.”

Mr Thomas, who worked in the Hewitt’s galley took three kilograms of kangaroo which was gone in minutes.

His Origin’s staff took 10 kilograms of kangaroo onto the Fitzgerald and that proved equally popular.

Catering Institute of Australia executive officer Vicki Mayell said Australian Navy chefs had also taken the opportunity to try a hotel kitchen when the HMAS Collins went to Hawaii.

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