3/C Mike Acampora’s Report: Evening Bridge Watch
After coming to the Mess Deck following his nightly shift on Bridge Watch lasting from 1930 to 2330, 3/C Mike Acampora (MTRA) noted what he saw during this period. At this point in time, the TS Kennedy would be passing to the east of Cape Hatteras located alongside the Carolinas. As a result, the ship has had an increased pitch (movement upwards and downwards from bow to stern) with the onset of the larger waves and stronger winds that tend to be present here. At the present time, the ship is experiencing the 8-10 foot seas that are similar to those we had seen during our previous pass through this region. Cadet Acampora stated that he witnessed the waves crashing over the bow as we made headway through these churning seas. Once the passage through here is complete, the Kennedy will continue onward into the North Atlantic and travel to the east of New Jersey by morning.
The Tireless Efforts of the Chartwells Staff
Throughout the entirety of this year’s Sea Term, the Chartwells chefs, bakers, and kitchen staff have worked nonstop to ensure that the crew, officers, and cadets aboard the TS Kennedy are able to eat their fill. Among the cadets who have been a part of this year’s Chartwells crew are 3/C Malarie Pittsley (MMSEP), 3/C Cameron Craveiro (EM), 1/C Heather Seggelin (EM), and 3/C Zachery Dion (EM). For 3/C Pittsley, this means arriving 15 minutes prior to each meal to help prepare for serving the cadets as they pass through the Mess Deck and staying 30 minutes afterward service ends. Three main meals are served on a daily basis onboard the TS Kennedy in the Galley; Breakfast (0630-0815), Lunch (1100-1300), and Dinner (1630-1830).
One of the chefs who works in the ship’s bakery is Becky, who was kind enough to describe the work that is done each day in the ship’s kitchen. At this point in time, she was in the process of baking red velvet cupcakes for the following day. For her, the work day begins at 2000 and concludes at 0400 in the hours before dawn. Since only a limited number of ingredients can be loaded and kept onboard, the chefs have to become inventive with the recipes they use. Everything from croissants, bread rolls, and muffins to brownies, “blondies,” and cookies are all made from scratch everyday. She works with baker Juventino (who is also known as “Juve”), who was mixing ingredients for the cinnamon rolls that would be served the next morning. When making brownies, Becky noted that you can tell who made the batch by whether or not chocolate chips were added into the mix (Juventino’s recipe calls for the chips while Becky’s does not).
The overnight crew, which includes Adam, Damian, and Vanda, work each night to prepare the ingredients for the next day’s meals while stocking the deli that is available in the Mess Deck and Officer’s Mess after dinner services. When the cadets from watch come to the Galley after their shifts at 2330, a midnight meal is made and provided for them by this crew.
There are a variety of unique devices in the kitchen that all have a role to play in the cooking that is done each day. In the bakery, dough is fed into a cookie depositor that is able to dispense perfectly formed spheres of dough and then cut them loose with a metal wire. Since each batch produces 1,500 cookies, using this machine is much faster than rolling them out by hand. A sheeter here is used for rolling out thinner layers of dough for baked goods like pastries and croissants. When heavier loads of goods need to be brought up from the pantry in dry storage, a dumbwaiter (like an elevator) is used raise up this supplies from dry storage. Most of the meals are cooked in the kitchen’s giant kettles, which utilize steam for cooking the food (these can be cleaned using steam as well). Near the front window where the meals are served are the grills and deep-fryers. During service, the staff use a counter to log how many people pass through the Galley at a given point in time so that the peak hours for activity can be logged (reset for each meal). Since the ship is in constant motion, all of the equipment has to be properly secured for sea through the use of straps and bungee cords.
Thank you very much to Becky, Juventino, and the dedicated Chartwells staff of the TS Kennedy keeping us all fed throughout the entirety of Sea Term 2020!