Coast Guard Culinary Students Set to Graduate

From left to right: Nichole Billow, Charles Gasaway, Ivana Ford, Dana Humphrey, Master Chef Justin Reed, Derek Wenzer, Austin Wolley, Aaron Reyes, Breanna Todd, Kate Bofferbrot, Joe Graves. Photo by Michael Jermyn

From left to right: Nichole Billow, Charles Gasaway, Ivana Ford, Dana Humphrey, Master Chef Justin Reed, Derek Wenzer, Austin Wolley, Aaron Reyes, Breanna Todd, Kate Bofferbrot, Joe Graves. Photo by Michael Jermyn

MONTPELIER — The women and men pictured above are just some of the 24 Coast Guard Food Service Specialists now completing a special three-week culinary course at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier.

The 24 Coast Guard students will celebrate the completion of their studies with a Commencement Dinner on Nov. 17 and a Commencement Ceremony at the Pavilion Auditorium beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18.

Nichole Billow, one of the standout Coast Guard students who will complete the NECI course on Nov. 18 hails from Las Vegas. As a young woman she worked for her parents who were in the food business in Las Vegas. Then she attended college at the University of Nevada, with a concentration in marketing.

And in July 2010, almost on an impulse, she joined the Coast Guard. After her initial training, she qualified as a First Class Culinary Specialist and soon enough found herself on one of six cutters in the waters off Bahrain cooking for a crew of 22.  She was good at what she did — shopping for food while the cutter was in port, then going out to sea and serving up food.

“I love being on the water,” she said. “You’re in a boat. You’re on a living platform.”

Billow was so good at shopping, cooking and serving up meals at sea that she was name “FS of the Year” which translates into “Best Cook in the Coast Guard.”

For more information about becoming a food specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard, contact Food Service Chief Master Chief Justin Reed at 757-582-0381 or email culinarycareers@uscg.mil

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