Culinary specialist (United States Navy)

Culinary specialist (abbreviated CS) is a United States Navy occupational rating. It was formerly the mess management specialist (MS) rating until January 15, 2004,[1] and commissaryman (CS) and steward (SD) prior to 1975.[2]

Culinary specialist
Rating Badge CS.jpg
Rating insignia
Issued byUnited States Navy
TypeEnlisted rating
A culinary specialist buttering loaves of bread aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington


Food service ratings in the U.S. Navy were historically divided into two broad groupings until the merger of commissaryman and steward ratings to mess management specialist on January 1, 1975. Before 1975, stewards prepared and served meals to the officers, maintained their quarters and took care of their uniforms.[3] They served officers in the flag mess for admirals, the cabin mess for the ship's captain and the wardroom mess for all other officers. Until the merger, the steward rating, and its predecessor ratings were largely segregated. Sailors of African, Filipino and Asian descent largely performed these functions.[4][5]

Commissarymen prepared meals for enlisted sailors in galleys on the ship and shore bases in the general mess. They purchased food from approved sources, stored food stuffs and distributed to the galleys for preparation and kept accountability records.[6]

With the consolidation, sailors in the new rating became "responsible for food preparation and food service for both enlisted and officer messes." To accommodate the change, officers were now required to assume some of the upkeep of their staterooms and personal uniforms. Other cleaning duties became the responsibility of rotational pool of enlisted personnel from the ship.[7] This arrangement continues with the current culinary specialist rating.

In an effort to make Mess Management Specialist (MS) translate to the civilian sector, the rating title was updated to Culinary Specialist (CS) in 2004. This change allowed for easier recruiting tactics when giving job descriptions related to various civilian jobs with similar titles. It also provided Sailors transitioning into the civilian sector an opportunity to use their culinary certifications that would now correlate into numerous career paths, including food production methods, cost control, nutrition, sanitation, and food marketing.[8] The Culinary Specialist rating now belongs to approximately 7,500 food service personnel who feed over 300,000 US Navy sailors worldwide. [9]


Culinary specialists operate and manage U.S. Navy messes and living quarters in addition to many other duties as follows:

  • Estimate quantities and kinds of foodstuffs required.
  • Assist supply officers in ordering and storage of subsistence items and procurement of equipment and mess gear.
  • Check delivery for quantity and assist medical personnel in inspection for quality.
  • Prepare menus and 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.
  • Maintain, oversee, and manage quarters afloat and ashore.[10]

Navy culinary specialists operate messes for the President of the United States in the White House and at Camp David.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mess Management Specialist Rating Name Changes". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
  2. ^ "Navy Ratings". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  3. ^ United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel (1946). Steward and cook 3c and 2c. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
  4. ^ Burdeos, Ray L. (2010-09-23). Pinoy Stewards in the U.S. Sea Services: Seizing Marginal Opportunity. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781452066783.[self-published source]
  5. ^ Weittenhiller, Larry K.; White, Craig C. L. (1978). An analysis of the amalgamation of the CS and SD ratings in the United States Navy. Dudley Knox Library Naval Postgraduate School. Monterey, California: U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
  6. ^ Personnel, United States Bureau of Naval (1959). Commissaryman 1 and C.
  7. ^ "Commissaryman/Steward Ratings Now Consolidated;Other Functions Change" (PDF). All Hands. January 1975. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Name change of the mess Management Specialist (MS) rating to Culinary Specialist (CS). - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  9. ^ R, Travis (2019-06-27). "Navy Culinary Specialist (CS): Career Details". Operation Military Kids. Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  10. ^ "Culinary Specialist (CS) Rating Roadmap" (PDF). US Navy. February 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Fisher, John C.; Fisher, Carol (2010-11-10). Food in the American Military: A History. McFarland. ISBN 9780786461738.

External linksEdit