Gerard Walsh

Chief Cook

Canship Ugland Ltd.
St. John's, NL

Why did Gerard choose this career area?

Gerard worked in lots of jobs before choosing cooking as a career. He worked in a number of bars and restaurants and then decided to try for a marine cooking position offshore.

What’s Gerard’s educational background?

Gerard completed a nine-month commercial cooking course. With the required work experience, he attained a journeyman certificate in cooking. Being a qualified cook means doing ongoing courses in sanitation and food safety.

To qualify for work offshore, Gerard completed several compulsory safety courses. He has also completed courses in business.

What’s Gerard’s job all about?

In the past, Gerard has worked as chief steward aboard the Zapata Ugland and the Nedrill II. Since 1998, he has been employed as a marine cook with Canship Ugland.

As chief cook aboard Canship’s offshore supply vessel MV Mattea, Gerard looks after ordering, menu planning, food preparation, and kitchen staff supervision.

He regularly cooks meals for a minimum crew of 25, but usually the number is higher. Food quality is excellent, and he tries to ensure there are always lots of healthy choices available.

What are Gerard’s working conditions like?

Gerard works a five-week rotation, with equal amounts of time at home and at work. At sea he works from 7am to 7pm, with a one-hour break in the afternoon. He has his own cabin with private washroom, couch, and satellite television. The ship offers access to the internet as well as a sauna and gym.

To get to work, Gerard takes a boat launch to join the Mattea in Conception Bay. If he’s assigned to a vessel outside of NL, he travels by plane to that destination.

Gerard enjoys life at sea. He finds the atmosphere on the ship peaceful, so he says it’s easy to concentrate on producing great food every day. He also enjoys playing cards and music with co-workers during off hours.

What benefits are associated with Gerard’s job?

Gerard loves the five-week rotation because it gives him lots of quality time at home with his family. His salary exceeds $75,000 a year, which he estimates to be more than twice what he’d earn for the same kind of work on shore.

He says that the excellent money means not having to worry about spending. Instead, he can relax and not have to look at price tags when shopping. He says the shift system and work hours also beat anything available for cooks in city restaurants.

Gerard enjoyed this line of work from his very first day at sea. His crew mates are his extended family, and through work he has made friends from all over the island and Labrador.

What’s exciting or cool about Gerard’s career area?

Gerard’s work has let him continue to live in his hometown of St. John’s, unlike many of his friends who had to move away in order to get jobs. He could live anywhere and still keep his job offshore NL, but he’s glad that he didn’t have to move. He says he wouldn’t change a thing!

Being a marine cook has given Gerard opportunities to travel all over Canada. He has also travelled to many different countries, with favorite spots including France, England, the United States, and Norway. Meeting people from so many places has been a real pleasure.

What advice would Gerard give to people considering a marine transportation career?

Gerard advises people to listen and learn from those around them. They should absorb everything education can offer and maintain a strong work ethic.

Training for a career offshore has really been a wonderful choice for Gerard, and he encourages others to consider the benefits of marine cooking. They’ll never go hungry, according to him.