LA Fleet Week and Galley Wars

MS D.J. Fields, PO1 John Cross, and PO2 Pierre Forget display their first prize award from Galley Wars at LA Fleet Week.
Photo: Submitted

HMCS Ottawa cooks take top prize at Galley Wars

By SLt Matthew Mooney,
HMCS Ottawa

On August 28, HMCS Ottawa set sail for Los Angeles Fleet Week. Under the guidance of the new Commanding Officer, Cdr Alex Barlow, the ship and her company sailed out down the west coast towards southern California. Accompanied by Sea Training Pacific, Ottawa participated in at sea readiness trials while transiting towards the City of Angels in preparation for their follow on mission of Op CARIBBE. Upon arrival in LA, the ship was greeted several escort vessels and the USS Iowa, one of America’s last battleships. The Iowa welcomed Ottawa by firing a two-gun salute and flying BRAVO ZULU as Ottawa passed by.

Fleet Week was comprised of a series of events which brought the men and women of our navy together with the sailors and marines of the United States. From football games to formal evenings, there was something for everyone at LA Fleet Week. One of the highlights of the week was Galley Wars.

Galley Wars pitted the best chefs from all the services against one another in a battle of barbequed burgers. Teams were assembled by United States Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines, who faced off against the Royal Canadian Navy. Each crew was tasked with creating a specialized burger, two sides, and a dessert. The finest creations were prepped by each team onboard their ships, with the final cooking process and assembly conducted on scene, under the critical eye of celebrity judges. The distinguished Robert Irvine, a Food Network Chef; Mei Lin, Winner of Top Chef; and Steve Samson, a highly distinguished LA restaurant owner, were ready to provide feedback on the creations.

The members of the Canadian team came armed to the taste buds with a menu they were sure would impress the judges. PO1 John Cross, PO2 Pierre Forget, and MS DJ Fields worked together to craft a burger that dreams are made of – quite literally. The inspiration for the burger came to PO2 Forget in a dream that he could not shake. Working as a team, the Canadian chefs crafted a burger made of 60% bison and 40% lamb that was double ground and stuffed with homemade jalapeno bacon jam. But they didn’t stop there. They went on to freshly bake a brioche bun and top their inception with homemade Louisiana ketchup and poutine cheese.

To accompany this heavenly treat, the trio prepared a mixed bitter green salad with fresh shredded applewood cheddar cheese and topped it with homemade caper vinaigrette. For dessert, a fresh doughnut topped with Calibeaut chocolate and sprinkled with sea truffle salt, and a rendered bacon reduction. Topping it off, they drizzled the devilish doughnut with a delicious caramel topping. This was all washed down with a healthy portion of Canada’s finest moose milk.

Once the menus were announced, the other competitors began to worry and the growing crowd began to salivate. It became clear very early on that the Canadian chefs were going to be the ones to beat. Once the judges tasted the food, however, it was no contest. The chefs of Ottawa blew the competition out of the water, coming in first place. They were followed by the US Marines and the US Coast Guard. For their outstanding performance, the judges awarded the chefs the coveted Galley Wars cutting board commemorating their victory. A big BRAVO ZULU to our three extraordinary chefs for their outstanding performance.