Veteran finds 2nd calling as chef on battlefront; subhead: Pangelinans own 1775 American Bistro

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Glenn Pangelinan is a warrior turned chef who cooks French cuisine at the 1775 American Bistro. In contrast to quiet kitchen, this photo is a 2012 snapshot of Afghanistan.

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The Chowan Herald

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

BETHEL – Every now and then, a reporter comes across a story that … well … you can't wait to write.

Such is the case of Glenn Pangelinan, a warrior turned chef who cooks French cuisine. Really, how does that happen!?

How does a guy whose been running and gunning in hotspots all over the world end up cooking exquisite French food at the restaurant — 1775 American Bistro — that he owns with his wife Anna Robertson, a Perquimans County native. And he’s not just any warrior. He's faced al-Qaeda, the Taliban and  Bosnian war criminals.

Pangelinan served as a Naval Special Warfare Intelligence chief in far flung places like Bosnia to apprehend war criminals in the wake of that very bloody civil war.

During Pangelinan’s combat deployment to the Middle East between 2005/06, he served with U.S. Navy SEAL Team Two in the Battle of Ramadi and U.S. Navy SEAL Team Eight in Fallujah, Iraq. He generated 70 combat missions that lead to the capture and prosecution of 32 high-value targets associated with al-Qaeda factions.

Africa can be a dangerous place too, but Pangelinan has been there, done that. While assigned to U.S. Navy SEAL Team Ten, he was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Trans-Sahel Africa in the country of Chad between 2007/08.

During Pangelinan's final combat tour in 2012 with U.S. Navy SEAL Team Ten, he was part of major combat operations in Khod Valley Afghanistan detaining nine high-value individuals affiliated with drug operations that supported regional Taliban fighters.

Thus, Pangelinan is the real deal – a modern day superhero who can snap your neck with his little toe and a stern look. Pangelinan said he found a passion for the culinary arts while on deployments. Tired of meal-ready-to-eat or MRE’s, Pangelinan purchased lambs or goats from local farmers and used available vegetables as sides, preparing them using regional spices. While in Chad, this warrior's newly discovered culinary wit eventually qualified him as the “house chef.”

Five years ago, while working in Washington, D.C., Pangelinan and his future wife Anna met on Capitol Hill. The couple relocated to Tyner to be near family. In searching for a place to live, Pangelinan came across the property that soon became 1775 American Bistro.

So how does this guy go from toting a high-powered rifle to flinging French food at 1775 American Bistro in a small town nestled between Edenton and Hertford?

“I really like the French Bistro style of cooking,” he said. “Nothing is fast and takes some considerable time to cook. I enjoy using spices from all over the world. I like constant changes in order to keep things new while offering the best local products that I can find.”

Dishes run between $15 and $31 with offerings such as Cornish hen, duck and lamb shoulder — all cooked to perfection.

“My favorite hangs between the lamb shoulder and the slow roasted duck flambé. What we really want to start is offering menu items ‘For the Table’: suckling pig, or whole lamb shoulder, spiced baby goat and porchetta,” Pangelinan said. “We want bigger parties of 6-8 persons making a reservation and requesting items like this for their dinner party and we will prepare it so that it is ready and amazing when they arrive. No wait, no fuss.”

Good food draws folks from Edenton to the restaurant at 960 Pender Road outside Hertford. Hours are between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and Sundays between 11:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., as well as dinner between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“I think we bring a different experience; the food, atmosphere and vibe. We want to be your special occasion or that place you bring friends to ‘show it off a little,'” Pangelinan said.

But French food prepared by a soldiers' soldier — that's not the end of the story.

Pangelinan founded an anti-sex trafficking organization, Reliance Incorporated, that aims to fight international crime groups involved in modern day sex slavery around the world.

“I retired from Naval service, and I felt like my body of work wasn’t complete,” he said. “I wanted to lead the way to a new fight: human trafficking. Upon retirement I brought two of my Navy SEAL brothers to Washington, D.C. Our challenge was breaking the status quo, built by other non-profits, in the fight to end sex trafficking.”

The Reliance team hopes to bring victims of human trafficking and child soldiering in South Sudan to Perquimans County.

“To help these young children acquire an education in agribusiness while working on the family farm, attending our local university and working as restaurateurs at 1775 American Bistro,” Pangelinan said. “The goal is to help victims overcome food shortages while building an entrepreneurial spirit in their home country.”

More on that story in the next edition. Much more ...

For now, let's focus on the restaurant as the main course because 1775 American Bistro is not just another place to eat, bute part of the fabric that made this nation great.  

“It is an unsolicited deliverance from God so they may continue to do their life-long work with passion as their greatest weapon,” Pangelinan said. “When you walk through the halls of 1775, it is hoped that you feel a great sense of national pride. Because those who gave their lives dearly are the reasons we are afforded the life and liberty we enjoy every single day. Come and be a part of the journey.”