KBR-operated Bahrain Bluejacket Bistro wins ‘history making’ food service award
The Bahrain Bluejacket Bistro won the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award for outstanding food service excellence in only its third year of operation.
The Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain Bluejacket Bistro, operated by KBR, recently received the FY2022 Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award for outstanding food service excellence in the OCONUS General Mess category. While this is not the only galley that KBR operates, it is the only one that has ever won the prestigious Ney award. It is also the only contractor operated galley to do so.
John Henton, the Bistro’s senior food service manager, called the win “history making.” As the first contractors to win this award, “it opens up a whole lot of doors for us.”
To even be eligible for this award—which has been likened to winning a Michelin star—the galley first had to receive two consecutive five-star accreditation ratings. What goes on behind the scenes is a critical part of the evaluation and accreditation process. According to Project Manager Sergio Garza, the award committee evaluated the galley’s financial records, Navy standard core menu, food preparation and service, subsistence management, facility upkeep, and training. The team accomplished all of this while also serving high-quality nutritious meals that meet customers’ satisfaction. More than 1200 diners come through the galley daily.
Henton has been working in galleys overseas for 16 years, spending time in Iraq before landing in Bahrain. The Bistro received its first Five Star galley award after just one year of being in operation. It won its second the next year. To be eligible for and win the Ney award after only three years in operation is a tremendous feat and, according to John Duff, NSA Bahrain Installation Fleet and Family Readiness Director, “nothing less than astonishing.”
Henton credits the hard work of his team as the reason behind their accomplishment and for their high level of customer satisfaction. “We’re a perfect team and have worked together for so long. All we do is try to make ourselves better. Overall, it was a great team effort from all of us.”
He also leads by example. “You don’t ever get anything out of something that’s easy. Do the hard work. Try to teach people what you know and treat people good and keep pushing and hope something good comes out of it. Just keep doing the right thing,” Henton said.
Terry Knight, Regional Program Manager NSA-UAE BOS, recently visited the galley and equated it to a five-star restaurant experience. “The professionalism is palpable” and goes “beyond the rudiments of the protocols and orders…it’s [Henton] walking amongst the people who are eating, asking them how things are going. It’s that omnipresent customer service that’s really unique to that galley.”
Hard work. Kindness. Cooperation. Professionalism. These are part of the recipe for not only a well-run galley but, also, an award winning one.
“We have one banner that’s up now. Our plan is to have a bunch of banners all the way around the galley. We are just going to keep on pushing and lead by example,” said Henton.