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Ensuring Seafarer Well-being: The Importance of Ship’s Cooks’ Expertise

Ships’ cooks are seafarers whose primary responsibility on board a ship is to prepare food for the crew of the ship. Their role extends beyond the preparation of food to include maintenance of the kitchen ensuring the cleanliness and hygiene of food and drink preparation areas and the handling and storage of food and stores. Access to adequate food and drinking water of appropriate quality and provided free of charge on board ship is vital to the health and well-being of seafarers. The minimum standards for food and catering on board ship.

The ship’s cook should:

  • be familiar with the various types of menus and their differences;
  • be able to read, understand and follow a recipe, have knowledge regarding nutrition, raw ingredients, preparation techniques and cultural and religious requirements, and be able to apply these skills in menu planning;
  • be familiar with the company menu book, if applicable;
  • be familiar with the rules of menu composition;
  • be able to estimate the amount of leftovers and include their use in menus, reducing food wastage both in the longer term and in day-to-day planning;
  • take into account the role of all the senses, the need for variation and the importance of nutritional value when planning;
  • be able to understand the importance of weekly menus, and be able to organize and prepare the weekly menus;
  • be able to prepare a meal so that the ingredients retain their nutritional content while still maintaining a tempting appearance;
  • be aware of the social aspect of mealtimes and of the practical consequences of this on menu planning, including special traditions, celebrations and occasions;
  • have an understanding of the interaction between mealtimes and the daily rhythms of work on board and the importance of such interaction in terms of the practicalities of serving meals and snacks;
  • be familiar with what constitutes a healthy diet.

To undertake practical aspects of cooking, the ship’s cook should have acquired the necessary theoretical competencies needed for planning, preparing and serving a varied, nutritious menu practically. The ship’s cook should:

  • be able to organize good work processes and efficient product flows and have the ability, in practice, to establish safe food handling practices such as filleting, deboning, trimming and portioning meat without wastage during preparation. It is important that the ship’s cook has a good overview of stores and has established schedules for the timely thawing of relevant food;
  • be able to combine the principles of variation, reusing leftovers and prevention of food wastage; etc.

To know more about the Maritime Catering Course, contact Girik Institute of Maritime Studies at:

Mobile: +91-7208482484 / 8828102586

Landline No: +91-22-41272900 / 49243022

Email Id:


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