Joshua Adam Garcia, aka Jag, caused quite the stir on the Food Network last night. Jag had actually made it to the finale. Amy was asked to leave and it was down to Rory and Jag. Since these shows are taped months ahead of time, a lot can happen during the in-term, and a lot did.
It was interesting because part of the challenge this past week was working with the media. He kept himself pretty guarded during the interviews…interesting….well, it got even more interesting. During the hiatus people started looking into Jag’s past and discovered that he exaggerated and fudged a lot about his past.
Jag was in the Marines, but never made it to Afghanistan and was in “food service”. There seems to also be some questions regarding his discharge and he never made it past private. Jag claimed that he was a corporal. He also claimed that he had been a graduate of The New York Restaurant School (The Art Institute of New York City). He attended, but never graduated. A limited amount of information can be uncovered due to privacy rights. The school says he attended but did not graduate. They won’t give any more details.
According to C. Mark Brinkley of the Marine Times:
He attended, but did not graduate,” said Midge Elias, director of public relations at the school, now known as the Art Institute of New York City. Privacy rules prevent the school from releasing any further information, such as number of course hours completed or whether the former Marine used the GI Bill to help finance his training, as he claimed in multiple interviews.
Garcia, who turns 26 later this month, was a Marine, enlisting Aug. 15, 1999, for a four-year enlistment that should have ended in 2003. Instead, Garcia was discharged eight months early as a private for reasons that the Marine Corps declined to discuss due to laws protecting his personal information.
Enlisted for more than three years with no promotions? Not even the Marine Corps is that tough.
In a follow-up interview Monday, Garcia was asked to explain why he called himself a former corporal. He owned up to non-judicial punishments that cost him rank, but he blamed his military troubles on a hazing conspiracy at his former unit. Garcia also claimed that he fought his administrative separation and was ultimately exonerated, but none of that can be independently confirmed because of privacy rules.
The Marine Corps has no record of Garcia’s rank being upgraded from private by any review board.
I can’t imagine what he was thinking? He was probably one of the best cooks there and you don’t need professional training for the competition. I am sure that he really wishes that he had made different choices, but reading this story makes me think that there is a pattern in his life.
Well, he definitely added a little drama to the competition. I think that the Food Network should have played it up a little more. They were very low key about the incident, but I think that is because they are a little ashamed that they got duped and obviously did not do a very good background check. One phone call to the school he said he graduated from would have led them in the right direction.
Jag ended up resigning, but I think he saw the writing on the wall. As for the Food Network, I would think that someone over there has their head on the chopping block.