Culinary Arts Graduate is a Chef at the Pentagon
Staff Sgt. Josh Pallardy, Culinary Arts, Class of: 1998
The Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff are entrusted with the Nation’s most classified information. But Chef Joshua Pallardy said he still won’t share his secret recipes with them.
“If I told them, I suppose I’d have to kill them,” said Staff Sergeant Pallardy, laughing. The new chef for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s dining room attended Elyria High School and graduated from the Lorain County JVS Culinary Arts Program in 1998.
Pallardy, 28, has been cooking for large groups since junior high school. As a Boy Scout, he prepared meals as a member of the summer camp staff at the Firelands Reservation Boy Scout Camp in Wakeman.
“I enjoy cooking and have always wanted to be a chef,” Pallardy said. “The JVS Culinary Arts program, however, made me passionate about cooking and jump-started my career.”
Pallardy said he will always be grateful for the support and knowledge that he received from his mentor, JVS award-winning Chef Timothy Michitsch.
“He was hard on me,” Pallardy said. “He helped me strive to be the best and encouraged me to try new and unusual dishes.”
Pallardy enlisted in the Air Force in 1999. Since 2001, he has served three tours of duty in the Middle East, including five-month tours each in Iraq, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Pallardy traveled to Washington, D.C. in February for the interview process. He spent three days helping prepare luncheons for the Joint Chiefs’ Dining Room. On the fourth day he was required to plan the menu and prepare a luncheon, by himself, for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, U.S. Marine General Peter Pace.
Pallardy’s menu included herb-grilled chicken breast bathed in a sherry reduction sauce, wild rice and asparagus, and winterberry pudding, a blend of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
“I was very excited to serve my herb-grilled chicken because it’s one of my favorite dishes and I knew it would ‘seal the deal,’” confirmed Pallardy, who will officially begin his new duties as one of six chefs assigned to the Joint Chiefs’ Dining Room in June.
Until then, Pallardy will continue cooking for the servicemen stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Pallardy said that cooking for several thousand troops each day is never dull because he strives to devote attention to detail, something he learned from the JVS Culinary Arts Program.
“It’s stressful when the people around me don’t do their jobs, especially keeping the kitchen and mess areas clean,” he said. “It’s something that Chef Michitsch always emphasized.”
Each day, Pallardy said he reads recipes from his voluminous collection of over 100 cookbooks. He also gets creative tips by watching Mario Batali and Rachel Ray on the Food Network.
“I like learning from these two television chefs because they enjoy adding flair and flavor to food,” said Pallardy, who also does the cooking at home for his wife, Carrie.
“The Pentagon menu changes weekly, so she’s my guinea pig,” Pallardy said.