Chef’s consultancy gets kitchens shipshape

Henry Anderson

A catering consultant and chef with experience of the marine industry is offering shipping operators advice on kitchen best practice through a company he has formed.

Henry Anderson, owner of Marine Catering Services (MCS) has seen it all in a catering career that has taken him onboard sea going vessels, oil rigs and land based units.

And he is now keen to pass on his knowledge to those running a catering equipment estate based at sea.

“It’s all about ensuring that proper procedures and structures are in place for the catering staff to implement and follow,” he said. “Without these systems, some kitchens onboard vessels are not running correctly to industry standards and requirements when I first visit them. Cooks need to be organised and methodical in their approach to cut out unnecessary expenditure due to lack of preparation and poor planning.”

Anderson is adamant you can deliver better quality and a higher culinary standard of food at sea, and in line with client’s budgets, through proper training.

This includes basics such as correct defrosting procedures and ensuring that catering staff never re-freeze any product as this can cause illness among the crew. He also notes that a failure to follow correct procedures can create problems for ship management companies with port authorities and private insurance claims if they do not fully comply with the 1990 Food Act.

“Every aspect of a vessel’s day-to-day budget should be scrutinised as implementing proper procedures can save ship management companies thousands of pounds per vessel each year,” he warned.

“If a ship with 20 crew wastes just 50 grams of Beef Topside (costing $12 (£8) per kg) per person, this equates to a loss of one kilo a day. This might not sound that much but the annual wastage cost per vessel works out at $4,380 (£2,962). Multiply that by the number of vessels in the fleet and it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that a lot of money is being wasted through this example of only one product line. So when you are working with large quantities it is important to be vigilant to ensure budgets are met.”

Through his consultancy business, Anderson passes on his vast experience to train cooks, galley staff, stewards and stewardesses’ to ensure there is no unnecessary food wastage in the catering department — a pre-requisite to reducing overstocking.

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