By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danny Ray Nunez, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs
When approaching the bustling mess decks of aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Sailors from all corners of the ship might catch the sweet smells of honey-glazed bread, chocolate chip cookies and cakes.
That smell leads to the ship’s little bakery where a handful of culinary specialists (CSs) work tirelessly to bake bread from scratch for the large crew.
For CSs on the ship, baking bread, cakes and desserts is more than just an everyday military duty; it’s a fun activity that reaps happiness from many.
“The best thing to make is the bread,” said Airman Robert Cloos,
assigned to the ship’s only bakery. “We have to set out the flour, yeast, water, and prepare it. It’s an all-day process that’s really relaxing.”
Like a sculptor with a lump of clay, the CSs can knead this unformed dough into something entirely new.
“We have to make something creative every day,” said Cloos as he cut through a gingerbread cake. Frosting of various kinds of colors covered the table around him.
But just because the ancient art of baking can be relaxing, doesn’t mean it always is.
“We have four bakers for a crew of about 5,000,” said Cloos. “This week alone, we’ve made seven cakes.”
Despite a consistently challenging workload, the Sailors don’t let the stress stop them from having a good time.
“People will come by smelling our cookies and say, ‘I smell cookies’ and try and take them,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jesus Gonzalez with a laugh. “We could go through 4,000 cookies in an hour.”
Gonzalez enjoys being able to disperse the highly coveted confections throughout the ship.
Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Miles Bagby also spoke about the delicious smell of the ship’s bakery.
“People will come from all over the place to come get what we make,” said Bagby. “People start knowing you for what you bake and how good it is.”
In the end, the bakers enjoy what they get to make during their daily grind.
“We have a lot of freedom in what we bake,” said Bagby. “There’s a real science in all that we do.”
After all the baking is completed, the CSs offer the high-quality baked goods loved by much of the crew, who thoroughly enjoy the daily delights provided by the bakers.