Steward work in the Royal Canadian Navy

S3 Lorraine Cléroux serves up a dish. Photo by Master Corporal Andre Maillet, MARPAC Imaging Services/HMCS Winnipeg

S3 Lorraine Cléroux serves up a dish. Photo by Master Corporal Andre Maillet, MARPAC Imaging Services/HMCS Winnipeg

S3 Lorraine Cléroux
HMCS Winnipeg

I joined the Royal Canadian Navy for several reasons. Taking up a career challenge I had in my youth, which is to serve my country, and my passion for everything that happens on and in the water.

Also, to experience the culture of unfamiliar countries and the benefit of long-term financial security.

I chose the job of steward because it intertwines many of my previous jobs such as restaurant and hotel services, school bus driver, and first responder.

In the Canadian Armed Forces, the job of steward can be performed on board submarines or ships (all types) and on board airplanes. On military bases we work in accommodations and as drivers for higher ranking officers.

Aboard a frigate such as HMCS Winnipeg, where I am currently posted, the job includes tasks for various departments, such as food, finance, first aid and, of course, being a sailor, first and foremost.

A Steward is part of the Logistics department. We take care of the inventory and supplying the various messes with soft drinks, alcohol, sweets, ship’s paraphernalia and other items. The accounting is done by the supervisor of the canteen, and that person works alongside other members of the Logistics department.

In terms of food, we serve meals to the Officers, due to the configuration of the dining rooms. At events or just for fun, a carved fruit may appear in the middle of the table. I can confirm that food sculpture is a skill that requires a lot of practice and tape (depending on the sea state).

Being a mom helps me plan the preparation of the “touski”, a French expression for “tout-ce-qui-reste”, or all that remains of leftovers from the morning or the day before in order to avoid waste.

Secondary duties include being certified in advanced first aid. On board a frigate, we are the ones who answer the call with the ship’s physician when a crew member is injured. We are also called to assist in qualifying exercises, which involve practicing casualty scenarios and providing first aid such as CPR.

So what does it take to be the Commanding Officer’s Steward?

Passion for the job, paying attention to detail, having a sense of professional organization, flexibility, and resourcefulness.

It takes good interpersonal skills and a love of socializing. Being in good physical shape is an asset because you are constantly going up and down the different decks with your hands loaded with hot food when the ship is pitching from port to starboard.  So you require good balance.

I do not regret having enlisted a little later in life because within this military family age no longer counts, only the solidarity of living fully each day guides us like a beacon until our return.


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