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Culinary Specialist (CS)



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General Description

Culinary Specialists operate and manage navy messes and living quarters established to subsist and accommodate navy personnel.  They prepare menus, manage and account for subsistence inventories and prepare and maintain financial records.  It is commonly accepted that the “mess decks” or dining areas aboard ships are the “heart of the ship” and the role culinary specialists play in the morale of the ship is very important.  Culinary Specialists Executive Services (CSES) impact can be felt in the highest offices of our government, supporting the President, Vice President, flag and general officers.  Career paths should include diverse assignments ashore and afloat that enhance culinary skills and leadership abilities and promote the future success of the rating through junior sailor development.

What They Do

Duties performed by Culinary Specialists include:

* Menu management and ordering the quantities and types of food items necessary for quantity food preparation.

* Operating kitchen and dining facilities.

* Maintaining subsistence inventories using storeroom management procedures.

* Maintaining financial records with the use of computer software applications.

* Serving as personal food service specialists in Commanding Officer's and Admiral's messes.

* Operating and managing shipboard living quarters and shore based hotel-type quarters.

* Providing hospitality and catering services during official command receptions.

* Serving as a flight attendant Aircrewman.

Working Environment 

Culinary Specialists work in kitchen, dining areas, bachelor quarters, living quarters and food service storerooms aboard ships, shore bases, construction battalions, and designated aircraft.  The work is physical, creative and mentally challenging; in which one has to be flexible and versatile in their daily duties.

After "A" School, Culinary Specialist are assigned to deploying units or shore stations in the United States and/or overseas.  During a 20-year career in the Navy, CS's spend approximately 60 percent of their time assigned to fleet units and 40 percent to shore stations.

Note: Culinary Specialists must display and adhere to outstanding personal hygiene, set the example of excellent personal appearance, and maintain high military bearing.  In addition, this rating offers leadership opportunities due to the volume of personnel organized, trained, motivated, and managed within work centers throughout the division. 

Career Path Opportunities

Opportunities for placement are excellent for qualified personnel.  Individual motivation, ability, and work ethic will determine how far a Culinary Specialist can advance in the enlisted or officer ranks during a 20-to-30 year career.  A Culinary Specialist who has achieved the rank of E-6 may be eligible to apply for commissioning as a Limited Duty Officer (LDO).  A Culinary Specialist who has achieved the rank of E-7 may be eligible to apply for commissioning in the Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) program.  The LDO/CWO program along with several other programs (STA-21, OCS, MECP, MSC-IPP, and the Naval Academy) enable a Culinary Specialist to earn a path to a commission.

Career Outlook

In the Navy Hospitality Field, the Culinary Specialist will find a diversified and challenging field of work with unmatched potential for personal growth and professional development.  Sailors will have the opportunity to develop problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, and organizational skills.  Sailors in this rating will develop practical knowledge and experience unmatched in the civilian world.  In the event that a Culinary Specialist should decide to separate from Naval service, all training and experience can directly transfer to all areas within today's global hospitality industry.  These training and development factors, along with a fantastic opportunity for travel, make any decision to leave the Navy a very difficult one.

Apprenticeship Program

The United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a formal military training program executed by the Center for Personal and Professional Development that provides active duty Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides the nationally recognized "Certificate of Completion" upon program completion.

USMAP enhances your job skills and shows your motivation for more challenging military assignments.  Having a DOL Certificate of Completion is a definite advantage in getting better civilian jobs since employers know the value of apprenticeships.  Below are the current USMAP apprenticeship trades that are currently offered for the Culinary Specialist rating:

* Baker (Bake Products)
* Cook (Any Industry)
* Manager, Food Service (Hotel and Restaurant)
* Cook (Hotel and Restaurant)
* Computer Operator

Please visit for additional information.


Hospitality Certifications and Additional Apprenticeship Programs

Navy COOL offers a wide selection of hospitality certifications and apprenticeships for the Culinary Specialist rating.

Note: Below are several organizations that are listed on the Navy COOL website offering certifications and apprenticeships:

* American Culinary Federation (ACF)
* American Board for Certification in Homeland Security (ABCHS)
Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CDBM)
* National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
* National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP)
* Food Safety and Quality Auditor Certification (CFSQA)
* Microsoft Corporation

Please visit for additional information.


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