Feeding the masses on deployment

Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Arunta (F151)

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Walter Miller hard at work in HMAS Arunta’s main galley. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Walter Miller hard at work in HMAS Arunta’s main galley.

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Walter Miller is responsible for preparing meals for up to 192 crew on board Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Arunta, currently on a North East Asian deployment.

The 32 year old chef has been in the Navy for 14 and a half years and he plans to continue ‘serving’ for years to come.

During the deployment, Arunta is visiting a number of countries over three months, including India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Leading Seaman Miller’s job on board the ship during this deployment is to supervise five younger chefs to provide the catering to the ship’s company.

"It is a very rewarding job as there is a lot of interaction with the crew during meal hours, and the crew have been so pleased with the quality of food provided on board," Leading Seaman Miller said.

"I am also the Commanding Officer’s chef, and as such, I have been required to prepare meals for our official functions and luncheons, and we have had a few with the international navies we have met during this tour.

"In addition to my primary role as chef, I am also required for many whole-of-ship requirements which includes the ship's safety team, the ship's medical emergency party and the ship's flight deck team," he said.

Leading Seaman Miller grew up in Safety Bay, south of Perth, and when not at sea, his home in Port Kennedy, Western Australia. 

His first insight into life as a sailor was as a Navy Cadet with Training Ship Anzac, from 1996-2000, and he joined the Navy the following year to conduct his basic training and cook training at HMAS Cerberus.

"I joined the Navy to see the world and hold a decent job.

"I have more than met those original expectations as I currently have a Certificate IV in commercial cookery and have gained numerous other skills through out my career  - Work Health and Safety and Advanced First Aid to name a few," said Leading Seaman Miller.

"As a chef I have had the opportunity serve on many types of platforms: warships, amphibious ships and minor war vessels – which has been a great experience.

"I have taken part of operations in the Arabian Gulf, Solomon Islands and East Timor and this is not the first deployment where I’ve visited such a range of countries.

"I am extremely lucky to have visited Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, China, South Korea, Guam, Timor, Honiara, Vanuatu, Kuwait, Dubai and Singapore – just to name a few,” Leading Seaman Miller said.

Providing quality delicious meals and service to the crew onboard is what Leading Seaman Miller loves the most. He also enjoys visiting places he has not been before, during his deployments so he can experience the local cuisine himself, and the different cultures and way of life.

Leading Seaman Miller says he is very much a family man now, and is looking forward to the end of the deployment when he plans to spend much quality time with his wife and two children.

But he also plans to continue serving as a chef in the Navy for years to come, and his ultimate goal is to be known as the sailor with the nicest beard.