Submariners will watch this film and be able to nod their heads with a sense of familiarity. We have done stories about life on our nuclear submarines before, but this one is about the life of the chef, the culinary specialists aboard a sub.
Space, as you might well imagine, is the biggest issue for submariners of every rating, but when you think about the fact that the chef has to cook a full meal every six hours for a crew of 150 fellow submariners, it is a whole different ball game. Good food is important not just for nutritional purposes but as a morale booster.
For those who have never served, or been aboard a submarine, it is hard to imagine what life would be like in such tight quarters for such prolonged periods, submerged hundreds of feet below the sea’s surface for weeks, maybe even months at a time. But when you see this video, you will get a real sense of what it is like for the chefs, the “Cookies,” on board.
Our nuclear powered subs can stay submerged and operate for months at a time, but there is one very serious limitation to their operational time—food supplies. Those supplies, by necessity, have to be somewhat simple, basic and preservable in small spaces for long periods of time. These chef/sailors are the elite of their rating in the Navy at being able to create nutritious, enjoyable meals for their crews. And you will see what kind of space they have to do it in.
The minimal number of chefs on a submarine have to be able to do it all, from entrées, to desserts. They do this in a space that defies description. But you will see what I mean here in this video.
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The sailors aboard a nuclear submarine serve a military mission that is out of sight and out of mind, on purpose. A submarine is a solitary entity, that operates as silently and as stealthily as possible. They don’t see the sun or the sky, or any others but their small crew of shipmates for extremely long periods of time.
There is nothing quite like the regularity of meals and the effectiveness of good food to keep a crew healthy and happy. These chefs are unsung professionals. They are the best at what they do.
Enjoy this video and if you know a submariner thank them for their dedication and courage in serving this nation. If you know a Navy chef, thank them for all their efforts to keep our Navy crews healthy, well fed, and at top morale as they serve on our country’s ships around the world.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.