Job Family: Personal and Culinary Services Food Service Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | Coast Guard  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile  |  Career Path
Photo 1: Food service specialist serves up meal. Photo 2:
Specialist trains in the kitchen.

Dwayne Robinson
Occupation: Food Service Specialist

I joined the Navy right after high school to travel and to learn a trade. After spending part of my first tour as a seaman apprentice working in th…

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Short Description
Every day, more than one million meals are prepared in military kitchens. Some kitchens prepare thousands of meals at one time, while others prepare food for small groups of people. Food service specialists prepare all types of food according to standard and dietetic recipes. They also order and inspect food supplies and prepare meats for cooking.

What They Do
Food service specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Order, receive, and inspect meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables
  • Prepare standard cuts of meat using cleavers, knives, and bandsaws
  • Cook steaks, chops, and roasts
  • Bake or fry chicken, turkey, and fish
  • Prepare gravies and sauces
  • Bake breads, cakes, pies, and pastries
  • Serve food in dining halls, hospitals, field kitchens, or aboard ship
  • Clean ovens, stoves, mixers, pots, and utensils

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include home economics, health, mathematics, accounting, and chemistry. Helpful attributes include:
  • Interest in cooking
  • Interest in working with the hands

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice in food preparation. Training length varies depending on specialty. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Standard and dietetic menus and recipes
  • Preparation and cooking of various foodstuffs and bakery products
  • Food and supply ordering
  • Storage of meats, poultry, and other perishable items

Work Environment
Food service specialists normally work in clean, sanitary kitchens and dining facilities. They may sometimes work in refrigerated meat lockers. Sometimes they work outdoors in tents while preparing and serving food under field conditions.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian food service specialists work in caf├ęs, restaurants, and cafeterias. They also work in hotels, hospitals, manufacturing plants, schools, and other organizations that have their own dining facilities. Depending on specialty, food service specialists are called cooks, chefs, bakers, butchers, or meat cutters.

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