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Sinar Parman, 1954-2017: Chef to Scientology’s celebs who escaped to dish on L. Ron Hubbard

Sinar Parman, a longtime Sea Org worker who was chef to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and later to its current leader, David Miscavige, was found dead at his Yucaipa, California home on November 11. He was 63.

Parman cooked not only for Scientology’s leaders but also for its celebrities, including catering the 1990 wedding of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. But we remember him best as a crucial source for the history of Scientology’s “Int Base” and the later years of L. Ron Hubbard’s life. We considered him one of the best sources for Scientology history, and his sudden, unexpected death is being dearly felt at the Underground Bunker.

“I first got to know Sinar when he was Hubbard’s chef at La Quinta. We became good friends, he was an easy guy to like. Because he was Indonesian we had an immediate kinship being from the same part of the world,” says Mike Rinder, the Australian who was once Scientology’s top international spokesman and is known today for co-starring on A&E’s series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

“Subsequent to Hubbard’s death, Miscavige took advantage of Sinar’s talents and had him appointed as his personal chef. In that role I came to know Sinar well. I spent a lot of time with him in Clearwater when Miscavige was there for the Lisa McPherson matter. A kinder, gentler, more caring man you could never meet. After he left the Sea Org we reconnected. It was like we had been with one another the day before,” Rinder says. “The level of kindness and thoughtfulness for others was exemplified in his care for his parents. After he left the Sea Org he literally devoted his life to helping them in their old age. When they passed away, he was devastated. I truly believe Sinar died of a broken heart.”


Parman’s mother Ina died on September 17 at 91. Three years earlier his father, Piskandar Parman, had died at 93. They had been married 66 years.

Parman’s ex-wife, Jackie Wolff, says that Sinar was found slumped at his computer in his Yucaipa home. He had apparently just sat down with his dinner. Autopsy results are pending, but she says a heart attack is suspected.

Sinar Parman was born on September 5, 1954 in Bandung, Indonesia. When he was 7, the family moved for a few years to Singapore and then toured Europe visiting family members before ending up in Stony Point, New York. Unable to get green cards, the Parmans went to Brazil, where Sinar’s older sister, Jennie, graduated from high school. Finally able to get US green cards, the family then moved to Los Angeles, and Sinar graduated from Hamilton High School.

He then attended classes at UCLA, but left after a couple of years. At the time, his mother was working at the Century Plaza Hotel, and Sinar was able to get a culinary apprenticeship there. By then, in 1977, he had become involved in Scientology, and in 1978 he joined the Sea Org and became L. Ron Hubbard’s personal chef, part of a small retinue who lived with Hubbard in various locations in the California desert.

Here’s how he described meeting Hubbard for a first-person piece he wrote for the Business Insider in 2012:

I was shown around and I met Hubbard outside the kitchen of his house, which was called Rifle. He was bigger than his pictures. He had big mutton chop sideburns and a cowboy hat and dark sunglasses you could see it was him but he was bigger than life. I was in awe. I was a little bit shy. He said hello. I was like wow, I was starstruck. But he was fine. After that I started cooking for him. At that time he was on a fish diet. It was rough. In Palm Springs, Indio, there was nothing around. There was no fresh fish it was all frozen.

Two years later, in February 1980, Hubbard went into permanent hiding, and Parman never saw him again. Hubbard died six years later, on January 24, 1986.

By then, Parman was working at “Int Base,” Scientology’s secretive 500-acre international management compound just north of San Jacinto, California. And it was that year that he met Jackie, who was also a Sea Org worker.

“When he came to the base, I just found myself really attracted to him,” she says. They began to see each other surreptitiously as she was getting out of another relationship.

“David Miscavige found about it, but then he did something that was pretty unusual for him. He allowed us to see each other until my divorce was final. Then we went to Las Vegas to get married.”

Jackie says Sinar wasn’t cooking then, but was working in “estates,” doing upkeep on the base and its electrical systems. Eventually he got work in the base’s galley cooking for the entire base population and then was assigned to be personal chef to the celebrities coming to the base. For the Business Insider, Parman detailed what the celebs liked.

Tom Cruise: “He liked a lot of pasta and high energy, complex carb meals. Not much on the red meat, but some of the larger meats, that kind of stuff. It was a very Hollywood diet. He had to keep fit. His body was everything because of his profession. Sometimes he’d like Chinese food, sometimes he’d like lo mein.”

John Travolta: “He liked to eat, let’s put it that way. His hamburger was chopped filet mignon. He liked to have clear ice in his drinks, not that they were alcoholic. Little things like that.”

Kirstie Alley: “I had to make noodles from scratch, really thick just like her grandma made it. Chicken noodle soup, so many times. She loved it.”

In a brilliant 2009 story that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, writer Tom Tobin described how Sinar and Jackie flew to Colorado to Tom Cruise’s Telluride estate so Sinar could cook for Cruise’s wedding to Nicole Kidman. But the experience only left them disillusioned as Parman realized he wasn’t going to be reimbursed for substantial purchases he’d put on a credit card during the trip, and that those amounts were going to be tough to deal with on what Sea Org workers took home — about $20 to $40 a week, when they were paid at all.

That disillusionment grew until Sinar and Jackie decided to make a break for freedom later that year.

“Most couples don’t blow together, but we decided we had the same feelings about it. Things had changed, and everything was about David Miscavige,” Jackie says.

Tobin describes how Scientology’s “blow drill” was used to track them down and convince them to come back and “route out properly” — which was actually a clever way of getting them to route back in.

Sinar and Jackie made another run for freedom in 1992, and once again they were talked into going through the “routing out” process, this time at the headquarters in Los Angeles. But eventually, Parman was back cooking, and became personal chef to Miscavige. He and Jackie split up in 1998, and then Parman made his third and final run for freedom in 2001.

When Sinar and Jackie were making their escapes, Gary “Jackson” Morehead was head of security at Int Base, and it was his job to reel them back in. He regrets it to this day, he tells us.

“I am truly sad about what I put them through,” he says. “Sinar made three attempts while he was on staff to leave and be with his parents, and the first two times I assisted with coaxing him to come back and serve the needs of the church. Sinar did attain his goal of being there for the end of the lives of his mother and father, and I’m happy that he did. Sinar and I fought fires together at Int Base. We had great times and sad times while on staff, all of which we cherished to his final days. He’s truly someone I will miss, and I will be forever thankful for what he gave me, and that was great friendship.”

Jackie made her own final break from the church in 2004, and she says she wanted nothing to do with anyone associated with Scientology. But two years later, one day she found a letter from Sinar in her mailbox.

“I was kind of freaked out by it. I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone in Scientology. He gave me his phone number, and I was debating whether to write to him or not. But then I gave him a call and we got back in touch with each other,” she says. “Then Marc and Claire Headley had an afternoon party and he was there. We just started reconnecting as friends.

“He was a wonderful man and I dearly loved him. I’m heartbroken at losing him,” Jackie says. “The last conversation we had, he told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him. So at least there was that. And going through his desk, I found that he had pictures of us.”



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,937 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 83 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,146 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,920 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,694 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,040 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,534 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,574 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,286 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 812 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,901 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,041 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,361 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,336 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 692 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,994 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,100 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,503 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,376 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 957 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,462 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,706 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,815 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 18, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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