Orlando And Kenya Super Chef Joins The Ranks Of ‘Super Chief’

BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER BRIAN MORALES, Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Headquarters, located on the historic Washington Navy Yard, D.C., an Orlando native with hometown ties to Kenya, Africa, was frocked to senior chief petty officer, a rank group formerly referred to as “Super Chiefs,” on June 6.
Born in Mombasa, Kenya in East Africa, Chief Culinary Specialist Frida Karani was frocked by CNIC Commander Vice Adm. Yancy B. Lindsey, whom she serves as the enlisted aide to, during a ceremony.
“My proudest moment in the Navy is when my mother [who travelled from Kenya to attend the ceremony in person] and husband pinned me to Senior Chief,” said Frida.
Frida, a 1999 graduate of Ribe girls Secondary school, joined the Navy 12 years ago to give back to her country.
“Putting the needs of others first before mine and serving gives me a chance to pay it forward,” said Frida. “It also gives me a chance to go back to school while traveling the world.”
According to Frida, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in both Orlando and Kenya.
“I learned to be kind to others, treat people how you want to be treated and always be honest and loyal,” said Frida.
Frida serves as the executive chef in support of the CNIC commander’s dining events and manager of his living quarters.
“What I enjoy most about my job, is educating junior CSs on proper ways to make food and how to maintain the wholesomeness of food and mentor them to be compassionate leaders,” said Frida.
Prior to joining the U.S. Navy in 2010, Frida had already earned a diploma in Culinary Arts from Kenya Utalii College in 2002, worked in five-star hotels and restaurants in Kenya, joined the Hyatt Regency Dubai, U.A.E. as a saucier from 2004-2006 and then moved to the United States as an exchange student working for Wyndham Orlando Resort.

In 2009, she entered into a culinary internship with JW Marriott Grand Lakes in Orlando where she was offered a full time position as a saucier while attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu.

From 2014 to 2019, Frida was part of the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an enlisted aide to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While stationed on the Joint Staff, she was named enlisted aide of the year for 2016 and 2017, and Armed Forces Chef of the Year by after competing at the 41st Annual Culinary Training Competition at Fort Lee, Virginia in 2016.

Frida was also the 2016 Joint Staff Sailor of the year and declared the Food Network’s TV show “Chopped” champion.

Her motivation and grit to succeed stems from educating junior culinary specialists on proper ways to prepare meals, maintaining the wholesomeness of food and mentoring her sailors to be compassionate leaders.

In 2018, Frida was promoted to the rank of chief petty officer with less than eight years of service in the Navy.

Put in effect on June 1, 1958 under a 1958 amendment to the Career Compensation Act of 1949, the paygrades E-8 (senior chief), and E-9 (master chief), were established with eligibility for E-8, being restricted to chiefs serving a minimum of four years in rank but with a total of ten years of service. The rank of master chief, E-9, required a minimum of six years of service as a chief petty officer with a total of 13 years of service.

Within four years as a chief, Frida was selected for advancement to senior chief petty officer, one of the two paygrades Navy Times described as “Super Chiefs” back in 1959.
Working with the Navy means Karani is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“By being first and foremost a fighting sea-going service, defending our great nation while supporting our allies overseas,” added Karani.
Her personal awards include: the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal, five Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy “E” Ribbon, three Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Commander, Navy Installations Command oversees 48,000 employees located around the world and is charged with sustaining the fleet, enabling the fighter and supporting the family. For more news from CNIC, visit www.cnic.navy.mil or follow the command’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.