should be accomplished before seating the wardroom
There are two basic meal styles used in the
wardroom-formal and informal. Variations of each
style are used on particular occasions. These styles and
their differences are discussed next.
Formal meal service includes the semiformal and
the formal styles called French service.
The formal type of meal requires more planning,
detailed preparation, and elaborate tableware than any
of the other styles. The formal meal style is used most
often when special guests or dignitaries are present
either in the flag or wardroom messes.
The formal meal style of serving is when you serve
the food from a food wagon, a side table, or offer it to
guests from a serving dish. As many as seven courses
may be served in this manner. All courses are served
with the plates being removed after each course.
Additionally, the place setting has no bread and butter
Semiformal service is the type of service used more
often than formal. For example, it may be used daily in
commanding and flag officers messes if there are no
guests. The preparation and service of this meal are not
as elaborate as the formal style and require less time,
facilities, and personnel. The individual place settings
are similar to those used for the informal meal styles.
Few center items are used other than salt and pepper
shakers, sugar bowls, and creamers.
The method of serving meal items distinguishes
semiformal from informal meal styles.
semiformal style, each food item is arranged on a
separate serving dish in the pantry. It is then offered to
each diner. Beginning with the meat or main course,
each course is carried into the wardroom separately.
The courses are presented to each diner in turn, starting
with the head of the table. The senior guest or the
individual designated by a buck is served first. Each
diner selects desired items from the serving dishes and
places them on his or her plate while the serving dish is
held. Serving dishes are returned to the pantry after their
contents have been offered to all the diners.
Several types of informal service are used in the
Those now in use include family,
American, ala carte, cafeteria, and buffet styles.
FAMILY STYLE. For this type of service the
food is attractively arranged in the pantry or galley in
the proper serving dishes. The food is then placed on
the table with the proper serving utensils.
Each officer serves himself or herself and passes the
serving dishes around the table. Dessert items that are
to be served later can be brought in from the wardroom
and placed on the sideboard. The serving dishes are
replenished as necessary.
AMERICAN STYLE. This type of service is
used in most restaurants. The main course plate is not
part of the initial place setting. Instead, individual plates
are prepared in the pantry or galley and placed before
the seated diners. This form of meal service is often
provided in officers messes on medium-sized ships, It
is often combined with other traditional forms of
service. In American service, food is placed on plates
in the galley and taken to the wardroom and served to
A LA CARTE STYLE. This type of service is
usually provided at breakfast. As with the American
style, the main plate is not part of the initial plate setting.
Instead. the diner is given a menu or breakfast order
form. The diner decides what food he or she wants and
how it is to be prepared. The order is then delivered to
the pantry or galley and the food is prepared as
requested. It is placed on a plate and served to the diner
as in the American style of service.
CAFETERIA STYLE. This is the type of
service that is used aboard some larger ships such as
carriers and supply ships. The diner does not normally
serve himself or herself. Rather, the diner selects the
desired items and the foodservice attendant places them
on his or her plate. However, salads, desserts, and some
side dishes may be apportioned in dishes and the diner
simply takes them from the serving line. The main
course consists of vegetables, starches, and meat. These
items are portioned onto a plate by the serving line
attendants as the diner selects them.
BUFFET STYLE. Buffet service may be used
for both formal and informal occasions. This type of
service is commonly used when either space or serving
personnel are limited. The food is attractively arranged
on a sideboard or serving table, and the officers and
guests serve themselves.
It is customary to place