Being a chef in any culinary setting can be both exciting and intense. Imagine carrying that same passion and pressure to the world of the military, where you'll feed our nation's heroes and protectors. Qualifying for this role means earning a passing score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB. This test is made up of nine subjects to evaluate an applicant's strengths and weaknesses. Subjects covered include mechanical comprehension, auto shop, general science, word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, assembling objects, electronics information, paragraph comprehension and mathematics knowledge. Verbal skills are also tested, which doesn't stand alone but is a combination of your scores in word knowledge and paragraph comprehension.
In the Army, there are five different levels for food service specialists, as chefs are called in this branch of the military. The most basic food service level covers food prep, cooking set recipes and setting up serving lines. The most advanced level covers menu preparation, evaluating specific preferences of the troops, surveying food preparation and handling, as well as evaluating the operation of food service in the fields. To enter this career, a candidate must score 90 or better in a combination of verbal, auto shop and mechanical comprehension, says Army.com. You must also have normal color vision and be able to possess a driver's license.
In order to be a food specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard, you need to earn a score of 105 or better in a combination of the verbal and arithmetic reasoning subjects. Candidates who pass this requirement get to study for their jobs in the Coast Guard training facility in Petaluma, California.
Navy and Marines
The naval side of the military has slightly different ASVAB standards for chefs, who are titled culinary specialists in these branches. Candidates must earn a score of 88 or above in a combination of verbal and arithmetic reasoning. You don't need to have perfect color vision to be a culinary specialist for one of these branches of the military, but you do need to be a team player who has plenty of energy, creativity and the ability to keep accurate record logs.
The Air Force treats the ASVAB a bit differently from other branches of the military. It categorizes the nine subject fields into four qualification areas: general, mechanical, administrative and electrical. Food service personnel fall under the service heading, which is a general qualification. A general qualification encompasses both verbal and arithmetic reasoning, says Military.com, and the combined minimum score for these is 24 for a food service specialist.
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