At the beginning of the war in Iraq, Floyd Lee, a 25 year Marine Corp and Army Cook, came out of retirement to take charge of the Pegasus Chow Hall outside of Baghdad airport. Pegasus was a mess hall with a difference. Despite sourcing his ingredients from the same sources as other mess halls, and serving up the same 21 day menu, Lee’s food, in style, preparation, and flavour was streets ahead of dining halls in all other US war theatres. The prime rib was marinated for two days before serving, the fruit plate was flawless without a rotten grape to be seen, and the deserts were described as er….. “sexual and sensual.”
According to Chip and Dan Heath “there are legends of soldiers driving to Pegasus from the Green Zone (the well-protected Americanized area of Baghdad), along one of the most treacherous road in Iraq, just to eat a meal.”
Legend or not, I can’t think of a higher endorsement for anyone in any walk of life. Imagine someone saying “I loved Floyd Lee’s cooking so much that I risked my life to have some more.” Lee’s secret was that he saw his role as being “in charge of morale.” It wasn’t just about putting food in soldiers’ bellies.
I wonder if he’s still out there.