School Offers Comprehensive Steward Dept. Training

 

May 2012

 

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In the eyes of many Seafarers, the backbone of a ship is the steward department. After a hard day’s work in the engine room or on deck, everyone looks forward to a delicious meal.

 

Members of the steward department have ample opportunities to maintain and upgrade their skills at the union-affiliated Paul Hall Center in Piney Point, Md.

 

The steward department typically is composed of three different ratings. The entry-level position is Steward Assistant (SA), followed by Chief Cook, and then Chief Steward.

 

“What’s important for prospective upgraders to remember is that working your way up is a process,” said Paul Hall Center Executive Chef John Hetmanski. “The program is by-design, meaning that we have stewards completing the course and then going out to sea for more seatime for a reason. We need Seafarers to have the opportunity to practice the specifics of what they’ve learned at sea before they can continue with their education.”

 

The first course that a Seafarer with the required seatime can take is Galley Operations. To be eligible for the course, a student must have successfully completed the Unlicensed Apprentice (UA) program (prior to Oct. 17, 2009) and have six months of seatime sailing as SA or have one year seatime sailing as SA. The four-week course covers basic safety and equipment training and also teaches attendees basic sanitation skills. By the end of the course, students should be able to make simple baked goods like breads and cookies and other dishes.

 

The next step in the upgrading process is the Certified Chief Cook course. This 12-week course is done in six two-week modules and is designed to increase skills in cooking, sanitation, and safety. For Seafarers to be eligible for this course, they must either have successfully completed the UA program (after Oct. 17, 2009) and have six months seatime as an SA or, if they completed the UA program prior to Oct. 17, 2009, then they must take Galley Operations and then have six months seatime as an SA. Another prerequisite option is to complete Galley Operations and sail for one year as SA.

 

The Chief Cook course not only teaches students many fundamentals of cooking fish, meat, vegetables, and soups, but also teaches the complexities of menu planning and recipe development. Another important component of the course is ServSafe certification. ServSafe is a widely used program that specializes in food service management. The classes include classroom instruction and a practicum where potential Chief Cooks try out their skills in a real-life setting at the school.

 

Advancing to a Chief Steward rating initially involves taking the Advanced Galley Operations course, which takes place over four weeks. The course reinforces skills that steward department members learned in other classes and also introduces some international recipes and computer training. This course has a six-month seatime prerequisite sailing as a Chief Cook and completing the aforementioned Certified Chief Cook course.

 

The final step in becoming a Chief Steward requires an additional six months of seatime as a Chief Cook after taking the Advanced Galley Operations course and then completing the Chief Steward upgrading course. The Chief Steward course is six weeks long; it covers topics in various areas that a person in control of a galley will need to succeed. A Chief Steward candidate will take basic supervision, computer application or information technology, food production, menu planning, and inventory management. The course, overall, emphasizes effective management of a galley, including menu planning and being able to manage inventory by computer.  In addition, instruction in leadership and conflict resolution is included.

 

With top-notch instructors and state-of-the-art training facilities available at the Paul Hall Center, members of the Steward Department have all the tools they need at the ready for not only upgrading their careers, but for continuing to provide nutritious and great-tasting meals for fellow mariners.

 

Steward Dept. Courses at Paul Hall Center

 

Galley Operations (4 weeks) – Must have successfully completed UA program (prior to Oct. 17, 2009) and have six months’ seatime sailing as SA or one year’s seatime as SA.

 

Certified Chief Cook (12 weeks) – Must have successfully completed the UA program (after Oct. 17, 2009) and have six months’ seatime as SA or successfully finished UA program (prior to Oct. 17, 2009), Galley Operations, and six months’ seatime as SA or must have successfully completed Galley Operations and one year’s seatime as SA.

 

Advanced Galley Operations (4 weeks) – Requires taking all the above courses and having six months’ seatime sailing as a Chief Cook.

 

Chief Steward (6 weeks) – Requires taking all of the above courses and having six months’ additional seatime sailing as a Chief Cook.

 

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