Coast Guard chefs take Galley Wars during Fleet Week

Petty Officer First Class Michael Allen, Chief Petty Officer Adam Greenwald, Petty Officer Third Class Melissa Northrop and Petty Officer Second Class Derek Nguyen had the winning dish.

Crew aboard the Coast Guard cutter Alert may not need to step on land to find the best food in town.

A three-person team, including two from the Alert, won an LA Fleet Week cooking competition in September. They defeated reigning champions from the Royal Canadian Navy to take the Galley Wars.

The winning dish: grilled rib-eye street tacos with a jicama slaw, grilled Mexican-style street corn with spiced sour cream, simmered black beans with house-smoked pork belly cracklings topped with pico de gallo and grilled pineapple upside-down cake topped with a toasted coconut meringue.

A $100 stipend allowed the crew to buy a “secret ingredient,” which turned out to be the 22-day, dry-aged prime rib-eye steak.

“I knew as soon as I saw the pictures of the plates that we had it in the bag,” Chief Petty Officer Adam Greenwald said.

Greenwald didn’t participate in the competition, but he did help organize the crew’s entry. The crew learned about the competition after arriving at fleet week. They met with their Canadian counterparts the night before to engage in good-natured smack talk.

After roasting the Canadians, the crew grilled their way to a win.

“I was just looking to have fun, really,” Petty Officer Third Class Melissa Northrop said. “We put our heart into what we cook, and I think the judges saw that.”

The win comes after the crew recently earned a distinction as the best dining facility on a medium-sized Coast Guard cutter. The Alert is based at the 17th Street Dock.

“I wanted a crew I could cook for and make them happy and improve morale on the boat,” said Northrop, whose specialty is baking.

Northrop and Petty Officer First Class Michael Allen, another member of the team from the Alert, are not sure if they will be able to return to fleet week next year. But they’d prefer it.

“If we do go, I’d love to defend our championship,” Northrop said.

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