Base Administration’s PO2 Israel Wong – Nelles Kitchen 2IC

PO2 Israel Wong

PO2 Israel Wong

2Lt Jamie Boparai
Base Administration

When Petty Officer Second Class Israel Wong joined the Naval Reserves in 2001, he never realized his part-time job would be a recipe for a long and fruitful career.

Attending George Brown College as a culinary arts student, PO2 Wong decided that taking a summer job as a naval cook was an exciting idea.

“It was a bit of an adventure,” he says. “I wanted to take my cooking out of the classroom and into the world, so I did and never looked back.”

Shortly after joining, the world drastically changed on Sept. 11, 2001. By Dec. 4, he was posted to HMCS Toronto and deployed to the Persian Gulf to join the US-led coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan.

“There were lots of unknowns at the time,” PO2 Wong recalls. “We were uncertain if we would be directly involved in conflict or not, but it was very exciting at the same time. It was also my first deployment, so I was learning how to perform my duties in an environment I had never been exposed too.”

While PO2 Wong prides himself in his craft of choice, he had never cooked at night before and found the Atlantic ocean to be rougher than expected.

“I was a little seasick at the beginning of that first trip, but I eventually overcame it, and I even began to enjoy the rougher sea states. In the end, thankfully, we all return safely to our friends and families.”

After returning to Canada, he continued honing his craft with passion and success. He moved up the ladder to his current rank by showcasing his abilities during many special events.

“I always loved mess dinners and cocktail parties, especially in foreign ports. Sometimes people are not aware of the talent required of a military cook and being able to showcase our abilities in a formal setting gives me an amazing feeling of pride and accomplishment.”

Now the second-in-charge of Nelles Galley kitchen, he continues his work perfecting his craft, not only as a cook but as a leader and mentor to others. He works with 30 military and civilian personnel.

“It’s always a team effort getting meals out, and there is no such thing as a snow day for us. Even in the event of a power outage, our feeding commitments don’t change. We have to work together, and we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves.”



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