U.S.S. LEYTE GULF — Culinary Specialist 2nd Class James Mendoza is bringing innovation and restaurant-style flair to his galley, giving millennial sailors their favorite gastronomic trends away from home.
"Millennials love small plates and tasting menus," said Mendoza, placing four chicken nuggets in an artful squiggle of runny barbecue sauce. "Not only does this make the sailors feel more at home, it helps me be a good steward of taxpayer dollars."
Mendoza's spot-on renderings of the country's top restaurants include serving small portions family-style, a "prix fixe" set menu, and even delightful coffee and bug juice pairings for each meal.
"I used to just get eight chicken nuggets thrown on a tray with some canned peas and eight minutes to eat it," said Chief Petty Officer Kyle Miller. "Since Mendoza came on board, I get six chicken nuggets to share with four of my shipmates, southern-style peas with baby onions on another plate, and toasted breadbowl to share. It's so fun, because I get to try a little bit of everything in eight minutes!"
Mendoza has introduced a house-made spicy aioli sailors can't get enough of.
"It takes some extra time, mixing the Texas Pete with the Skilcraft-brand mayonnaise, but it's worth it to keep the best young men and women in the world energized and nourished," said Mendoza. "Just wait until you see the artisanal Szechuan sauce drizzle i'm whipping up for yakisoba night," he added, motioning to tubs of soy sauce and grade-C "vegetable ketchup."
"I used to get so irritated when I had to wait in a line that snaked around the corner to get chow," said Seaman Roddy Swallows, a Brooklyn native with thick-framed glasses. "Since Mendoza got here, it just reminds me of trying to get into the most of-the moment Jewish-Hawaiian fusion noodle bar back home. He really is the best in the Navy."
Not everyone has been on board with Mendoza's attempts to bring his galley into the 21st century.
"This is fucking bullshit," said Senior Chief Randall Key. "It's just less food on more plates. Sharing plates? Like shit I share. He just put the noodles on a separate plate from the meatballs and piped the marinara on with a caulking gun. Millennials are killing the navy. "
Sources confirm that Mendoza will continue unobstructed, as Key has not eaten a complete meal since 1994 and subsists mostly on coffee, Copenhagen, and candy bars confiscated during health and welfare inspections.
"I can't complain about his expresso bar, though," continued Key as he slurped down his fourth flat white of the morning. At the time of printing, Mendoza had not revealed the 400% increase in Nestle freeze-dried coffee requisitions.