Military Chef

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by slipp000, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. slipp000

    slipp000

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    So Im planning on joining the Navy as a Chef (UK) because I want to travel and meet new people while Im still young (21). Ive got 2 years of restaurant experience and love the work but tired of my current lifestyle/location.

    Has anyone on here been a chef in the forces or know about what I can expect from it?
     
  2. seabeecook

    seabeecook

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    I can only speak to the US Navy. Expect lots of hard work and long hours with low pay. You will have duties other than the galley. In the US Navy to cooks (called culinary specialists) also operate the barracks on shore stations and the wardroom on ships. You will have military assignments as well. For example, I was a member of a gun crew on one of my ships. I was the damage control petty officer for the supply division on another ship. Those duties were performed after hours. In the Seabees I was a mortar crewman, squad leader and other duties not related to food service. Also expect long periods away from home. I hope this helps.
     
  3. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I don't know about the UK ... but the U.S. military provides an absolutely competent culinary program. It's also so easy that you don't even need to think. You do things the way you are told ... and you do them correctly. It's a beautiful thing. It's such a beautiful thing that whenever I had spare time, and I didn't need to sleep, I'd spend it in the mess hall where I could do stuff, when I could. When you get out, which you shouldn't do until they force you, you'll be able to walk into any kitchen anywhere and be at home. I've been to both ... the military is better than the CIA ... because they pay you to be there. You've never got to spend your own money ... you've always got somewhere to eat and sleep ... you get to see the world ... you've got free health care ... YOU GET PAID. It's like better than Mom's house.
     
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  4. don rich

    don rich

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    That's funny. Were you a recruiter? I was a cook in the US Army for twenty years. Yes they pay you, house you and feed you, but you also have your military job too. Team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant etc. Cooking school is very basic. Doesn't compare to CIA. It does have a advance Culinary month long course if you can get your chain of command to send you. Be on your game and MAYBE you can cook for generals,personal chef on private planes,cook at the white house. This all depends on the type of unit you are in and your chain of command
     
  5. Iceman

    Iceman

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    OK ... So since SOMEBODY gets to cook for the top-brass and such ... what did I say that was wrong? I also said I've been to both ... the CIA and the military. I have absolutely NO Problemmo claiming the military to be better. You can retire very well from the military. You can't retire from just going to school. Everyone's profession is exactly what they make of it ... whatever it is that they choose. I wasn't even a culinary person ... and I had a great time doing it. 

    NO ... I'm not a recruiter.

    "We work in kitchens ... It ain'te rocket surgery."
     
  6. youngchefkarl

    youngchefkarl

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    LOL at the military training being better than the CIA.

    I'll take the guys word for it who was a cook in the Army for twenty years over somebody who visited the mess hall.

    The army might be the better deal for an individual because of reasons that were stated (room and board, pay). CIA is not cheap. That depends on the person. But to argue that the quality of the training is better? That's ludicrous. The CIA has classes on things that the military would never touch on.
     
  7. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Whatever,  Grasshopper.  I said I went to the CIA, if you didn't read that part. A big hot-shot CIA education guarantees you nothing. YES, you should know everything there is to know coming out of the best school ... with a ton of debt. I got into, and did real well @ the CIA because of what I knew from having "visited the mess hall". I don't know anything from Mr.GI-Joe 1-post Army Man. He might have lots of experience. What I'm saying is that the military is a career, with lots of potential ... and the CIA still only gets you a $12/hr job ... if you're lucky.

    Please ... Do whatever makes you happy. The CIA Has a bunch of very famous alumni. Good luck with becoming one of them.
     
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  8. nauticus

    nauticus

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    I have a very close friend who was a military cook/chef in the Canadian Forces, and I agree that they do have an excellent culinary training program. 

    I think that if the argument is that military culinary training, on a content basis, is superior to that of a reputable culinary arts institute, then I think that is generally false - a reputable culinary arts institute simply will teach you a lot that the military doesn't have to. 

    On the other hand, if the argument is that the military culinary program is a very good and realistic career option for many people who can't or don't want to pay for a reputable culinary arts program and who are seeking a career from the get go, then I absolutely agree with that. 
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    My experience was with the Swiss Army, just the basic 17 wk basic training. We never stayed in one kitchen for more than a week, we cooked in tents, backs of trucks, in the snow, in the sun, in a lot of air raid shelters, and sometimes even in the barracks kitchen. We had to deliver meals to various outposts as well as officers, we had to be quick, and had to move kitchen within a 2hr period.

    While I never learnt much about cooking (other than how to make canned food more palateable) I learned all about comminication, organisation, how valuable relationships were with the quartermaster as well as the motor pool, and how valuable good equipment can be. All of this prepared me well when I had my own catering company ten years later.

    Experience is experience. The more you get, and the more varied it is, the better off you will be.
     
  10. seabeecook

    seabeecook

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    I gained valuable experience in contingency operations in the US Navy (both in the fleet and in the Seabees). This summer at the camp I had to deal with a water shortage (water filter issue in the camp's water treatment plant), power outage (local electric company issue) and propane outage (kitchen tanks ran out of gas). Experience teaches you to think on your feet, consider options and take steps to get the meal out on time. During the propane outage, I baked coffee cake (with a hint of Kingsford!) in our BBQ pit.

     
  11. don rich

    don rich

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    I went to CIA also,and yes if you are slow or don't position yourself in progressively complex positions with more responsibilities in different aspects of the food industry your career will be slow.Yes it will take about 12- 15 years. Cooking in the US Army if you make Brigade Sergeant Major, you will have to be in for 30 years and make what a Sous chef makes in 5-7 years
     
  12. Iceman

    Iceman

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    LOL. Another report from a person THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANY CLUE about the economics of military cost of living. "Mr.2-Post". 

    NO sous anywhere ... outside of "Fantasy Island" is making 30-year E9 pay. 

    Oh yeah ... that "Brigade Sergeant Major" rank doesn't even start until 2017. 
    Try getting your facts right.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  13. don rich

    don rich

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  14. don rich

    don rich

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    Look at arm.mod.uk it shows you what you can to towards being a chef
     
  15. don rich

    don rich

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    OK 20 year SGM makes 50. Average Sous makes 48. If you want a lot of satisfaction and a little towards retirement the military is good. Just remember retirement pay will only go so far unless you put in at least twenty and make SGM. Otherwise go back to work. If you still want to be a chef after the army you will have to depend on the extracurricular classes to give you a head start. You will have to learn fine dining. That means another 15- 20 years I'm assuming
     
  16. don rich

    don rich

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    The seebee is right on! Same for the army just ground pounding stuff(infantry). The military will give you a one up on management and how to think on your feet.
     
  17. don rich

    don rich

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    Cooking in the military translated to civilian is the equivalent of institutional cook. prison or retirement facilities. Retirement chefs usually have to have knowledgein accordance with dieticians
     
  18. don rich

    don rich

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    Going to Culinary arts schools, you should do a couple of years line experience in a fine dining restaurant first to get the most out of it. Know that Escoffier started the kitchen brigade. So there is the military headset. Be proactive in your job and career. Being a chef takes years to build a knowledge base. Learn what you can in maybe fine dining, then hotel/resorts maybe or vise versa. Banquets, catering ,street food,bbq,charcuterie
     
  19. don rich

    don rich

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    Sorry got off track. Oh yea man have fun. You can Always find a girl that like man in uniform. Drink some Guinness for me. You can get from one side of Europe to the other pretty easily and fast by train.
     
  20. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Bullsh*t.

    Armies are mobile. Prisons and old folks homes are not.
    Army cooking presents a ton of logistical problems that no prison or insitution will ever have. Its the Chefs job to deal with it.

    I suggest putting on a uniform and experiencing it for yourself.