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Culinary Specialist CSS
Culinary Specialist (CSS) operate and manage Navy messes and living quarters established to subsist and accommodate Naval personnel; estimate quantities and kinds of foodstuffs required; assist Supply Officer in ordering and stowage of subsistence items and procurement of equipment and mess gear; check delivery for quantity and assist medical personnel in inspection for quality; prepare menus; plan, prepare, and serve meals; maintain food service spaces and associated equipment in a clean and sanitary condition, including storerooms and refrigerated spaces; maintain records of financial transactions and submit required reports; and maintain, oversee, and manage quarters afloat and ashore.

Hotel and Restaurant Management, Food Service Specialist and Budgeting

Culinary Specialists (Submarines) receive extensive training in cooking, baking, dining and living area management. Navy Culinary Specialists provide food service for admirals and senior government executives and run the White House Mess for the President of the United States.

Responsible for all aspects of the dining (mess decks) and living areas, Culinary Specialists work in the “heart of the ship,” and are vital in maintaining high crew morale on the submarine and every shore base.


Active duty obligation is four years. Applicants will enlist for four years.
Advancement. Enlistees enlist as E-1s (seaman recruits). Completion of all advancement-in-rate requirements (including minimum time-in-rate) must be completed prior to advancement to E-2, E-3 and E-4. Top graduates of initial “pipeline” training may elect accelerated advancement to E-4 if they execute an agreement to extend their enlistment one additional year. Advancement in this rate to E-4 (Petty Officer Third Class) is historically greater than other Navy ratings.

Elite Program

This rating is open to men who volunteer for submarine duty. Submarine pay is paid monthly upon the completion of Basic Enlisted Submarine School, currently $75.00 to $355.00 (see Submarine Pay chart). All submarine ratings are members of an elite community consisting of highly professional, well-trained personnel.

Career Opportunities

This rating has outstanding hotel and food service management skills training and development directly transferable to the civilian job sector, either at the end of obligated service or a full 20 to 30 year career. New and exciting career opportunities await the select group of people who possess knowledge and experience gained through Navy training. Of course, the longer you stay the more training, experience, skills, and benefits you will receive. These skills and training are in demand in both the civilian and military career fields.

Some of What They Do:

The CSS focuses on dining and berthing for personnel. As a CSS you also play a vital role in overall personnel morale. Some typical duties include:

• Preparing menus and ordering the quantities and types of food items;

• Operating kitchen and dining facilities;

• Keeping records for food supplies and financial budgets;

• Serving as personal food service specialists on admiral’s staffs and for the commanding officer aboard ship or at shore bases;

• Operating and managing living quarters aboard submarines and work at shore based motel/hotel type quarters.

Credit Recommendations

The American Council on Education recommends that semester hour credits be awarded in the vocational certificate and lower-division bachelor’s/associate’s degree categories for courses taken in this rating on food preparation, kitchen operations, sanitation and hotel management.

Qualifications and Interests

Culinary Specialists must be good team workers and enjoy working with people. Ability to do work, follow recipes and keep records is important. Good arithmetic skills are required for working with recipes. Creative ability and an interest in nutrition and culinary art are also helpful. CSS’s must be U.S. citizens and eligible for a security clearance.

Culinary Specialists, work in kitchens, dining areas, living quarters and storerooms where food and supplies are kept. The work is primarily physical and involves working as part of a team.


The Navy has a continuing need for qualified submarine Culinary Specialists. Placement opportunities are excellent for qualified applicants. About 1,100 men work in the CSS rating.

CS - Culinary Specialist

Culinary Specialist are cooks, bakers, and vegetable preparers assigned to the Food Service division. They are responsible for food production in the vegetable preparation room, the bakery and galleys. CSs are needed on every ship in the Navy and at every shore base. Navy Culinary Specialists provide food services for Admirals and senior government executives, and run the White House mess for the President of the United States.

CS - Leading Culinary Specialist

A Leading Culinary Specialist (LCS) is the senior enlisted member assigned to the Food Service division and is responsible for the proper functioning of the division. The LCS ensures a high level of cleanliness and the proper sanitary preparation of rations in sufficient quantity, while remaining within prescribed monetary food allowances. Ensure required records and forms are prepared, submitted, and maintained.


110128-N-1092P-111 NORFOLK (Jan. 28, 2011) Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Justin Allen serves Naval Station Norfolk Command Master Chief David B. Carter at the base galley during a commemorative meal for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During a program honoring King, diversity committee members from Naval Station Norfolk enacted skits depicting the civil rights movement and Rev. Joyce Nyhaug spoke about King's achievements and the importance of keeping 'the dream' alive. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips/Released)



110209-N-0864H-813 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 9, 2011) Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Drew Iverson directs an SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter to take off from the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during nighttime vertical replenishment flight operations training. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart/Released)

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