So, Which Agency Needs an Executive Chef with a Top Secret Clearance?


And how many recipes are classified Top Secret?

Sodexo, the food services company, “is seeking a strong executive chef to manage all the culinary operations at a high-profile government dining account in Northern Virginia. The successful candidate must be able to obtain a TS/SCI clearance [emphasis included],” according to a job posting on the company’s website.

Steven Aftergood, who found and posted this gem on the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News blog today, viewed a Top Secret chef with a Sensitive Compartmented Information kicker as a prime example of the Washington clearance process run amok.

Aftergood mused:

Though it may seem ridiculous, the requirement for a chef with a Top Secret clearance exemplifies a significant policy problem, namely the use of the security clearance process as an employee screening tool.

To all appearances, a chef does not need a security clearance. Although the successful applicant “must become familiar with Sodexo recipes,” those recipes are not national security secrets, and a clearance should not be needed to perform the job of executive chef.

Nevertheless, a clearance requirement has evidently been imposed because the “culinary operations” are to be conducted in a secure government facility that will place the chef in proximity to secrets, even if he or she does not actually come into possession of any.”

I wonder if all the secure government facilities that litter the greater Washington area staffed by thousands of employees who, in some cases, work 24/7, already have executive chefs with TS/SCI clearances.

Deborah – Mrs. What’s – thinks this is really a requirement for an executive chef for a CIA safe house taking care of high-level defectors. These defectors are so fed up with CIA chow, they have threatened to re-defect to the French unless the CIA cuisine is improved.

(Image via Kzenon/