By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland Fleet Week is officially underway. The ships are open for tours, and crews are ready to greet visitors.

WJZ’s Tracey Leong spent the day on the USS Oak Hill learning what it takes to fuel those on board.

The crew keeps the ship running, working behind the scenes to make sure everyone is happy, healthy, and productive.

Some culinary specialists have a tall order to fill on board the USS Oak Hill.

“We are the center of the ship, and morale starts here,” said William LaSalle, culinary specialist first class.

They create the comfort of home with each meal they serve.

“Usually, you serve roast beef for eight, which is a normal household,” LaSalle added.

But this family is much larger.

“600 is a long day,” he said.

The crew consumes roughly 1,000 pounds of food everyday. It’s an intense task that actually benefits from too many cooks in the kitchen.

“We have people working on the carrots, rice, so everybody knocks out their own thing since we’re serving such a large crew,” said Tristan Peters, culinary specialist third class.

Catering to 500 different palates requires creativity.

“It switches up, we keep some meals the same, taco Tuesday and burger Wednesday,” Peters added.

And a dedicated kitchen crew.

“Got to love what you do and I can honestly say everybody who works here loves what they do, so everything they put on the line is a representation of themselves,” LaSalle said.

Hearty meals for a crew who work up an appetite on board.

“A little taste of home and they all put their own spin on everything, which is really good,” said Megan Kipfer, Navy seaman.

Compliments to the chefs, who are in charge of fueling this hard working fleet.

During Maryland Fleet Week, you’ll have a chance to take a tour and meet these culinary specialists.

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