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A day in the life of a Pot-washer Utility

Hello everyone, my name is Charles and I am from Jakarta in Indonesia. I know I have a rather unusual name for an Indonesian, but here on-board it makes things much easier, to have a common name. I work as one of five Pot-washer Utilities on-board and as the title already says, I wash the pots in the galley.

As you can probably imagine when there are 3000 guests on-board a ship that are being fed several times a day, there is a lot of cooking and baking going on which creates plenty of washing up.

We work in shifts and my shift starts at 4 am. My first job is to prepare my huge sinks – filling one with hot water and detergent, the other with clear hot water to rinse the cleaned pots. I also have to prepare a huge container with hot water and detergent for the big ladles, whisks (manual and the ones from the machines), spatulas, graters, tongs as well as cutters that are used mainly for the pastry.

It is easier to have the cooking utensils soaked in hot water first while I start cleaning the bigger items so that they are easier to clean later on.

When I start my shift, there are already pots and mainly bakery utensils to clean. Also the breakfast cooks are starting their shift in a minute and so they will also bring the pots and utensils that they have used to be washed.

A day in the life of a Pot-washer Utility

As you can imagine, lifting all these pots around, into the first sink, cleaning and scrubbing them, rinsing them in the second sink and then putting them back on the racks for the cooks to use again is hard physical work. Whist I enjoy to go to the crew gym on-board, I mainly only do cardio training – since weightlifting is what I do every day in my job.

The water needs to be very hot so I have to wear long sleeves, heavy duty thick rubber gloves and a heavy rubber apron to protect me from getting burned and from soaking my hands in the water all day. A little trick that I found out that helps me is to put baby powder on my hands before putting on the gloves as this helps to protect my skin against the rubber.

In my job I have to be fast and organized. The cleaned pots need to be quickly available to the cooks, and they need to be at the designated spots on the racks. I would not want to have a cook coming to my station and not finding what he is looking for.

My shift ends after 12 hours, in which I also have one main meal and 2 coffee breaks, and since I have the morning shift this week, at least I do not have to stay until all the dirty pots and utensils are cleaned.

Next week I am on the evening shift, maybe you can come back and I can take you along and tell you a little more about my job.

Charles, Jakarta, Indonesia