Galley Duty


written by Benno

It is one of the most important things on board, but it is no navigation device, no emergency signal and no communication device: our galley duty. Galley duty is very important for the moral and the daily work. It helps us to survive and not get crazy.

In the early morning one hour before everyone else gets up the galley crew prepares breakfast for the fourth watch (sentry duty). One has to prepair bread, tea, coffee, plates, anti-sliding-tablecloth, fruit salad and everything else a good breakfast needs.
From 7.30 am to 10 am the whole crew has breakfast. At Sundays and Seaman’s Sundays (Thursday) we often make something special like pancakes or fried eggs. After breakfast we have to clean 50 dishes and this is just the beginning.
Every day, we get a box full of ingredients and a general plan from the food managers Karina or Caro but without a recipe or only with an incomplete one. Normally, we eat a cold meal for lunch such as salads or sometimes toasts baked with cheese and for dinner a hot meal like beef stew.
Cooking in a group of four is interesting because everyone brings different experience with him/her, so we have to decide together how we cook the meal. Furthermore, the fact that we have to cook for 50 people and not like at home for 3-6 persons makes it more difficult. But it is often quite stressful because lunch has to be ready at 12 am and dinner at 6pm. Sometimes when it is too stressful, the assistant of the food managers comes and helps wherever he/she can. The galley duty has to plan carefully so that the food is not too late and not too early.

One of the dangerous parts of the kitchen work is the moving ship. This movement in combination with hot water is one of the most dangerous things on board. To prevent accidents one has to follow special security rules. Hot water should never be alone without attention or be safely secured with rubberbands or other ropes. Also one has to pay special attention to sharp things like knives. And a few more specific rules.

Almost every day the galley duty gets compliments for the good food we get. In the end: Good food equals happy crew.
Another thing is that we do not want to get ill. Therefore we have to be very clean in the kitchen and have an eye on the hygiene. Every time someone comes into the kitchen or touches something that is not from the kitchen he/she has to clean their hands before they touch food or something that will touch food. This is very important because if someone brings an illness into the kitchen it can spread over the whole crew. But besides this worst case, as long as we clean our hands regularly, we will not get sick.
Galley duty is also cleaning three times a day 50 dishes and every day 50 glasses and cups. To prevent that the mood of the galley duty sinks, it is allowed to listen to loud music in the kitchen. That’s why cleaning of the dishes feels not so long and can sometimes be quite fun.
After all the work is done, the real work begins and we have to clean the whole kitchen. Especially important is, to clean the working places, like the oven or the bread cutting mashine, and the floor. Additionally, we have a special task every day like putting all things out of the cupboard, clean them and put everything back where it belongs. Only at Sundays and Thursdays (Seeman’s Sunday) we do need to clean something special. After all of this at ca. 8pm – 10pm the kitchen gets a control from the actual watch and the galley duty can, if the kitchen is ok, go to bed.

Since Kiel we have used only the bread we bought on land and refrigerated it, but it is not possible to take enough bread for the whole voyage, so here at the Atlantic, we have a special galley duty to bake bread.
All in all, galley duty has good and bad sides and even if we have to do some things that are not so nice like cleaning dishes, we have to do it. It is important to survive and to come back home after the voyage.