About Jean-Louis Palladin

Jean-Louis Palladin was born in 1946 in the small southwestern French town of Condòm. In 1974, at 28 years old, Jean-Louis Palladin won two Michelin stars for his restaurant Tables Des Cordeliers in Gascony, France. At the time he was the youngest chef to have won two stars.

Always seeking a new challenge, Palladin came to America in 1979 to open Jean-Louis at the Watergate, in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Unsatisfied with the ingredients available to restaurant kitchens at the time, he learned about the special qualities of Chesapeake blue crab and rockfish, local tomatoes and corn, found farmers to grow fresh herbs and organic vegetables, and encouraged others to raise poultry and meats to his standards.

Whether he was visiting a scallop diver in Maine, a cheesemaker in California, or dining at every restaurant about which he had heard good things, Palladin was constantly on the search for the very best talent. He offered them his product resources, his time, and his friendship. He created a brotherhood among chefs, and truly raised the level of cuisine in America.

Palladin was inducted into the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America in 1987 and was the recipient of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 1991 and the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 1993. He died in November 2001 at age 55 from lung cancer.

The Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation and the James Beard Foundation

Founded by colleagues and friends in 2002 after Jean-Louis Palladin’s untimely death, the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation furthered Palladin’s legacy by establishing a grant to help working chefs learn about ingredients at their source. In 2009, the Palladin Foundation was subsumed under the James Beard Foundation, which established an endowment to continue Palladin’s legacy. Today, the James Beard Foundation administers the Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Work/Study Initiative in honor of the world-class chef whose passion for excellence inspired a generation of French and American chefs. 

Advisory Board

In addition to our chefs' master class series, the James Beard Foundation has also formed a Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Work/Study Initiative Advisory Board:

Mitchell Berliner

Ann Brody Cove

Thomas Head

John Jamison

Lee Jones

Norman Van Aken