Monday, November 18, 2013

Navy@Vivo 2013: RSS Endurance Exclusive Tour - II

During the tour on the RSS Endurance and looking through the profile of the Naval Chefs, I noticed that most of the Naval Chefs have been with the Navy for pretty long.  Even the youngest Naval Chef, ME2 Alex, at age of 26, has been with the Navy for 9 years. 

Being a Naval Chef, isn't an easy task at all.  Having to work for long hours and with irregular working schedules, they will need a lot of understanding from their family members to accept the fact that they will be away from home pretty often.  So what keep them going?

To them, being a Naval Chef is more than just cooking, it is serving the nation in a way that they are passionate about!  They love the fact that they get chances to travel, not only they get to learn new cuisines, but also the culture of the other part of the world and broaden their view. Some took on as a challenge as cooking while sailing in the sea is a total different experience.

"Being a Naval Chef is not just about cooking, but it allows me to travel more as well.  I get to see different parts of the world." -- ME2 Jagen.

I had some deep talk with Naval Chef, ME2 Wisely Tay, the pioneer Chief Chef for RSS Resolution and RSS Formidable, who has been with the Navy for 21 years. He was involved in numerous exercises and cocktail functions held at foreign ports and had converted to a Submariner at the age of 34 to experience a different type of training and lifestyle.

From then being looked down upon Cook, to now well respected Chef, it was not a easy journey for him. Those were the days when he first joined the Navy, people tends to associate cooks as the "Ah Bengs". It is over the years that cooks started to gain the recognition in their social status and re-labelled as Chef nowadays.

So why be a Naval Chef?
"I believe that a Naval Chef faces more challenges that a hotel chef working in a stable environment.  For example, we have to cook while the ship is out sailing in the seas, and we also have to work under pressure and meet our expectations on time.  For me, I relish these challenges and enjoy the unique experience cooking on board a military ship."

A former drop-out student after his secondary 2 studies, he is grateful to his then-superior, Executive Officer CPT Kumaran, for encouraging him to upgrade himself while his is young.  Heeding his then-superior’s advice he went for his N-Levels, and then did his Diploma in Culinary Skill (Western) from SHATEC.  He believes that one should not be self contented and firmly believe the importance of continual learning, and is now looking to upgrade to an Advance Diploma in Western Food Preparation (Western) with ICASTEC.

While Wisely's strength is in western cooking, he loves experimenting, and exploring new tastes and different cooking methods.  He loves to infuse local hawker food with western food preparation methods and the unique taste of Japanese cuisine, e.g. Teriyaki Chicken Chop with Hainanese Chicken Rice.  Although he spend almost 18 hours a day in the kitchen, he loves his job and gain the most out of it, when his fellow mates applaud his new creations.

A truly inspiring story of working hard towards in achieving one's dream, and he who perseveres wins at last!

Wisely had recently participated in the Star Chef Competition 2013 held by the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS), which results will be out soon on 26 November 2013. Wish him all  the best and may he gain Championship!
Shall end the post with some quotes to keep you inspired!

"People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don't know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to." -- George E. Allen

"I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." -- John D. Rockefeller

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" -- Winston Churchill

"There is no failure except in no longer trying." -- Elbert Hubbard

Head to Part I to see more of the Exclusive Tour to the RSS Endurance and its Galley:
Check out more photos on my Facebook Photo Album:
 Navy@Vivo 14-17 Nov 2013

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