Hailed as the Chef of the Twentieth Century, Jean-Louis Palladin was born in the Gascony area of France, known as a French food paradise, in the town of Condom, France, and yes, they have the world’s largest condom museum there. His mother was Spanish and his father was Italian, and that combination of cooking styles was a great inspiration for young Palladin.
At age 12, he began working at the Le Regent in Condom, and at 14, moved over to work at the Ecole Hoteliere de Toulouse. At age 17 he worked for a year at the Plaza Athenee in Paris. A year later in 1968, he moved to Monte Carlo to open La Table des Cordeliers and received his first star in 1971. In 1974 at age 28, he became the youngest chef ever to win a second Michelin Star and in 1978, Christian Millau and his Gault Millau guide gave him an 18/20 rating.
In 1979, he left Monaco to go to the US and open Jean-Louis at the Watergate in Washington DC. In May of 1993, after all the Nixon Watergate issues were over, Great Chefs traveled to DC to tape Chef Jean-Louis @ The Watergate, for their Great Chefs of the East series where he prepared a Celery Soup, a Navaron of Lamb for their new Great Chefs-Great Cities series, and also prepared a Strawberry Fouette for a Great Chefs one-hour special titled French Fest. Later that month, Chef Jean-Louis won the Best Chef Award from The James Beard Foundation, along with Great Chef Larry Forgione of New York City. Later that same year in 1993, he opened a new restaurant in Richmond VA with Great Chef Jimmy Sneed, called “The Frog and the Redneck” which became very successful.
In 1995, Chef Jean-Louis Palladin opened “Napa” in the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas and in 1999, he opened “Palladin” in New York City.
In February of 2000, Great Chefs was out in Las Vegas, and asked if he would like to prepare a few dishes at “Napa” for their new series Great Chefs of America. Chef Palladin was so pleased to see the Great Chefs crew again, that he prepared five dishes, although he was already not feeling well. He prepared a Tile Fish; Antelope Loin; Foie Gras; Shrimp Tempura and a fabulous Roasted Banana dessert. This may very well have been Chef Jean-Louis Palladin’s last appearance before television cameras.
In November 2001, Chef Jean-Louis Palladin passed away the same week as the Beatles youngest star, George Harrison, both stars in their own way, and both in their mid 50s. He will be missed as a chef and friend.