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Food Service Specialist (FS)

Related Civilian Jobs:

  • Chef
  • Private Chef
  • Sous Chef
  • Finance and Supply Manager
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Caterer
  • Baker
  • Pastry Chef
  • Line Cook

The food service specialist (FS) receives comprehensive training in all facets of food preparation including culinary fundamentals, advanced culinary methods and techniques, and pastry and baking. Training also includes instruction in accounting and purchasing, inventory management, military leadership, and time management. FSs will also learn about equipment use and safety, sanitation, and dining-facility management. Many of the jobs, training, and experiences that FSs are exposed to prepare them to transition into a variety of food service related fields in the civilian sector. 

Types of Duty:

FSs serve in approximately 370 units worldwide supporting the Coast Guard mission by serving nutritious meals and serving in various collateral duties on board the unit.

FSs may find themselves operating their own dining facility as an independent duty food service officer on board a patrol boat, river tender, or small boat station. This job is unique to the FS rate and one that can be very rewarding. Other opportunities include high-profile jobs such as serving as a special command aide for flag officers, working at the DHS Executive Dining Facility, or even a chef at the White House.

Training Available:

You will start your career as an FS with either 12 weeks of specialized instruction at FS 'A' school at Training Center Petaluma, CA, or with on-the-job training. After your initial study and spending some time in the fleet, other training opportunities will become available.

Advanced food service training and instruction include:

  • Dining Facility Finance and Management
  • Leadership and Management
  • Independent Duty Food Service Officer
  • Nutritional Cooking
  • Shipboard Baking
  • Advanced Pastry and Baking
  • Advanced Culinary Skills Training (ACF certified)

The Forrest O. Rednour Memorial Awards Program recognizes outstanding performance in the FS rate, both at the unit level and individual accomplishments. All winners are recognized at the Food Service Center of Excellence at TRACEN Petaluma. Additionally, the FS of the year will attend the advanced culinary skills training course.

The Coast Guard culinary competition team provides high-performing FSs with the opportunity to compete in culinary competitions, most notably at the two-week-long culinary arts competition at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, VA.


To be an FS, you should have a strong desire to prepare and serve high quality food. You should also have an ability to understand and apply instruction and procedures for safely handling food as well as good mathematical background for finances, inventory and recipe conversions.

Common attributes possessed by FSs:

  • Self motivated
  • Ability to communicate with others
  • Good with time management
  • Able to work long hours on your feet
  • Able to lift upwards of 50-pounds
  • High level of personal hygiene
  • Creativity and passion in food preparation
  • Customer service

If you have studied or received a degree at a culinary school, the Coast Guard is the perfect organization to apply your knowledge and continue your culinary development.