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Since the concept of rates, ratings and occupational entities to describe naval careers was first used in 1775, the rating structure has undergone considerable change while maintaining long and healthy traditions.

The profession of a "cook" has a long naval history. The historical rating of cook was established in 1797, changed to ships cook in 1838, and again changed to commissaryman in 1948. In 1975, the mess management specialist rating was formed from the merger and subsequent disestablishment of the commissaryman (CS) and steward (SD) ratings. The progression from cook, to ships cook, to commissaryman, to mess management specialist is an excellent example of these long and healthy traditions.  This tradition will not be lost but instead enhanced with the mess management specialist name change to culinary specialist. The name change more appropriately describes the duties and mission of the rating, aligns the rating with today's commercial culinary profession and enhances the ratings professional image.

As the technical advisor for the mess management specialist rating, NAVSUP, in September 2002, recommended changing the mess management specialist rating name to culinary specialist. The chief of naval personnel approved the name change in January 2004 and this change applies to culinary specialists of the Navy and Naval Reserve.

The name mess management specialist does not readily translate to a civilian profession and therefore did not lend itself to recruiting efforts or civilian certification. The name change to culinary specialist allows for easier and efficient recruiting while enhancing the professional image of the rating. As the MS rating aligns itself to achieve civilian culinary certifications, a change to the rating name is justified to correlate to civilian applicability and to reflect the true nature of the profession, which includes proficiency in food production methods, cost control, nutrition, sanitation and food marketing.

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So how did this name change reflect on the Billeting aspect of this rating, which could have crossed over into Hotel Management.


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