Ship's Cook

A Ship’s Cook is the person in charge of making the daily meals on a ship, to feed the crew and/or passengers. On by far the most ships, it is a person who has to work alone. Only on ships with bigger crews will the cook get an assistant. And on the top there are cruise ships with multiple restaurants and galleys having multiple galley teams with each their own chief cook leading the team.

Chief Cook versus Chef Cook

They are the same, chief cook is used on official papers in the maritime industry. But when comparing aquatic based and landlubbing cooks, they are the same thing.


Eventhough the job title says chief cook for the cook of a ship, he is usually adressed to as chef by the crew, from Sailor to Captain.
Sometimes 'cooky' is used to, but this very quickly can be perceived as a negative form.


Besides the preparing of the meals, the cook is also responsible for the stores. Making sure the ship is suitable stocked for the journey it is taking. In consultation with the captain, decissions are made on where to resupply and for how long.


Necesarry to good store keeping is good planning. An excellent cook will be able to organise his stores and plan his meals in such a way that the fresh produce lasts a long time. Depending on the perishing rates and storage abilities and quantities.


The atmosphere among the crew of the ship is very largely influenced by the cook and the quality of their cooking. If the food is well liked by most (you can never please every single person) and eaten with pleasure, the crew will be happier all around. If a cook only has seven meals in his arsenal to fill a week and then repeats that every week for months on end, even the least picky eater will start to grumble.


Just like their land based counter parts, ship's cooks wear a white double-breasted (for extra layering) jacket, with or without an apron, over dark or checkered pants. A top hat can be worn but is usually very impractical in the limited space of a ship's galley.

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23 Jul, 2022 14:45

Super interesting, as always! I hadn't considered the need for a large menu on long journeys!