Recipe for Success: FS2 Ali Ganjour

Throughout the year, we’re featuring food service specialists in the Coast Guard. Each profile will come with a recipe so let us know if you want to see a particular recipe in the comments below. Enjoy this “recipe for success” and bon appétit!

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Ganjour stands in the galley onboard Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, where he is currently stationed. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Ganjour stands in the galley onboard Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, where he is currently stationed. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Varied experiences and diverse backgrounds are what each and every Coast Guard member brings to the service. These two things combine to form talented, motivated and skilled crews that perform each of the Coast Guard’s 11 missions.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Ganjour brings both to the table.

Born in Switzerland and raised in Malaysia, Ganjour first came to the United States in 2006. For the first five years, he worked, studied and lived in New York City. When things got challenging, he turned to his cousin, who had just finished boot camp at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, New Jersey.

At first, Ganjour considered the Coast Guard Reserves as his primary option. However, after talking with a recruiter, he quickly changed his mind.

“The more I found out about it, the more I liked,” Ganjour said. “Honestly, before that, I didn’t even know what the Coast Guard did.”

He was particularly drawn to the life-saving missions of the Coast Guard and soon began learning about the various ratings from which he could choose.

Ganjour, who had been working in restaurants his entire life and had a passion for cooking, stopped listening to the possible career paths after he heard about food service specialists serving in the Coast Guard.

“It was exactly what I wanted to do,” he said.

In 2012, he began boot camp and subsequently attended food service specialist “A” school in Petaluma, California.

While Ganjour admits that the adjustment to military lifestyle was challenging at times, he says he has no regrets about his decision to join.

U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Upon completing his training, he reported to Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in San Diego.

On his most recent patrol, Ganjour worked as a duty-cook before he moved on to night baking and serving mid-rats, a late night meal for crewmembers standing late-night watches. Because he was able to choose what he made for this meal rather than follow a prescribed menu, Ganjour was able to better explore his passion for cooking and began making meals from scratch.

And before he knew it, word about his meals spread through the ship.

“More and more people started showing up,” Ganjour remembers. “I would serve 80 to 90 people for mid-rats.”

Ganjour credits his immediate supervisor, Petty Officer 1st Class Ivan Garrido, with how much he has learned thus far.

“He was an Admiral’s cook for four years and came here with a wealth of knowledge that I am trying to soak up,” Ganjour said.

Ganjour’s favorite part of being a food service specialist? Putting his heart into each and every meal he cooks for the crew and having people tell him how much they enjoyed it.

“Honestly, that gives me the fuel to keep going,” Ganjour said. “Just to have a couple people come up to me each day to tell me how much they enjoyed it and how delicious the food was makes all the difference.”

Senior Chief Petty Officer Glen Gaskins, also a food service specialist serving aboard Cutter Boutwell, says that Ganjour has proven himself to be the most reliable asset of the cutter’s junior food service specialists.

During his time aboard, Gaskins describes Ganjour’s ability to advance both professionally and personally. Not only did he complete the required training and requirements to advance to his current pay grade, he also is working towards his bachelor’s degree and recently completed six colleges courses while the cutter was underway.

“FS2 Ganjour is an excellent example for others to follow,” Gaskins said. “The Coast Guard is lucky to have him.”

Below, Ganjour shares one of his favorite recipes – steak salad with honey dijon dressing.

“This recipe is easy to make, packed with flavor and excellent for a pre-workout meal,” Ganjour said. “It can also be enjoyed in a wrap for some extra energy.”

Steak salad with honey dijon dressing, as prepared by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Ganjour. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Steak salad with honey dijon dressing, as prepared by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Ganjour. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Steak salad
1 strip steak
1/2 head romaine lettuce roughly chopped
6 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 avocado thinly sliced
1/4 cucumber skinned and diced
1/2 red pepper concasse and sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground thyme

Honey dijon dressing
2 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon pineapple juice
2 tablespoon honey
2 table spoon red wine vinegar

1. Season steak with salt, pepper and thyme and cook on a skillet to desired doneness. Set aside covered to for ten minutes to retain all flavor and juice.

2. For dressing, mix all dressing ingredients and beat well with a whisk in a mixing bowl. Set aside in a refrigerator. (Refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor)

3. Mix all salad ingredients together, except the steak, add dressing and toss.

4. Finally, slice the steak. Place salad on plate and lay the sliced steak on top. Enjoy.

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