It’s no secret that the Navy tends to feed its crew pretty well, but the standard shipboard fare doesn’t hold a candle to what comes out of the captain’s private kitchen.
The demands of running an 843-foot-long ship filled with more than 2,000 sailors and Marines is a 24 hour a day job that leaves Wasp Captain Gary Boardman with a very demanding schedule.
Because every responsibility ultimately falls to him, Boardman rarely knows when he’ll be able to step away for meals or sleep, so part of command is having two sets of sleeping quarters, one off the bridge and one in “Officers Country” in the CO’s Passageway as well as a personal chef.
The CO’s Passageway is cordoned off on either end with blue curtains, and crew members are supposed to avoid entering unless they’re on official business.
With his two cabins, the captain can be just off the bridge resting should any issues arise that demand his personal attention.
Near the CO’s hallway is the commander’s kitchen where the captain’s personal chef prepares his meals. The same reasoning applies, that the commander will grab meals when he can and having a chef on call is the best way to do that.
For the captain to sit down and dine is not something he gets to enjoy very often, which is why it was a bit of an privilege for him to invite a few of us to dinner in his private dining room our second night onboard the USS Wasp.
So while the rest of the ship ate pretty well that night, we went nearly gourmet. A crisp green salad with heirloom tomatoes and a light vinaigrette, a Cajun pork chop with mashed potatoes and lightly steamed vegetables was followed by a slice of pound cake covered in a cinnamon sauce and fresh fruit. All of it served on Department of the Navy China with weighty silver flatware.
The coffee, like everywhere else on board, was also very good. Sailors like their coffee and in the officers dining room personal mugs are hung on a board by the machine.
Dinner was great and the captain stayed until desert before his duties called him back to the bridge.
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