Aboard work barges, the cook prepares good, nutritious meals for the barge personnel, the work crews aboard and client personnel who come aboard. A barge’s galley is a stand-alone environment. A barge cook may work alone, or with more than one cook and laborers called galley hands. The galley operates on the premise that a crew that’s well-fed is a crew that’s happy.
A barge cook can prepare meals on time, using fresh, frozen or canned food products. She is familiar with sanitary food preparation processes and methods, such as working with raw meats and a variety of vegetables. She is organized and capable of organizing the work of others in food preparation and cleaning. She understands a variety of service methods, from self-service from a stove to steam tables and supervised, cafeteria-type service. She understands the methods and limits of cleanup for facilities, eating utensils, serving utensils, cooking vessels and restaurant cooking equipment.
A barge cook prepares meals for the barge crew. The barge cook prepares the meal plans. She gathers the necessary recipes and foodstuffs from the barge refrigerator. She prepares each item so it is ready for meals that she serves at specific times throughout the day. She may use mixes for some items, such as gravies or sauces, or prepare them from scratch. She uses pre-cooked breads, she may use canned or fresh vegetables for meals, and she uses fresh fruits. She keeps fresh foods in the galley refrigerator or in a walk-in refrigerator adjacent to the galley. She stores meat products in the walk-in freezer section and removes them in time for defrosting and preparation. She ensures the sanitation of the cooking facilities or spaces.
If the barge has accommodations for work crews, such as crane operators or drilling and technical personnel, the barge cook has an assistant, called the night cook, and several galley hands. Under these circumstances, the barge cook prepares the midday and evening meals; the night cook does the baking and prepares midnight chow and breakfast. In addition to cooking, the cook procures food and personal supplies for the barge personnel. She also supervises the activities of the night cook and the galley hands. She supervises the activities of the bedroom stewards who clean the work crew’s quarters, make their beds and clean the public areas of the barge housing area.
A barge cook is a competent cook and is trained in sanitary food preparation processes. She is a documented seaman and holds a U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. She is trained in operating rescue craft, first aid, CPR and life-saving equipment, as required by the International Convention on Standards of Training and Certification for Watchkeepers. She is trained in pollution prevention, under the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. She’s also a competent hotel operations manager, capable of managing staff and dealing with complaints from both barge crew and guests, such as those temporarily assigned to the barge for a specific job.
Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.