The annual Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington, DCs premier international foodie event, where world-class embassy chefs create unique dishes inspired by the flavors of their homeland.
By Nadine Bartholomew, The Good Foodie
The annual Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington, DC’s premier international foodie event, where world-class embassy chefs create unique dishes inspired by the flavors of their homeland. The event is organized by Cultural Tourism DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, culture, and heritage found in Washington’s diverse neighborhoods. The two-part challenge begins with a closed-door cook-off and ends with a food tasting and fundraising gala. Proceeds from ticket sales and the live and silent auctions benefit Cultural Tourism DC’s free mission-driven programs.
The 5th annual Embassy Chef Challenge started with Challenge Hungary—a private preliminary competition modeled after Bravo’s popular series, Top Chef. The cook-off was held on February 10, 2013, at Occasions Catering. Seven embassy chefs competed to win the Judge’s Choice Award; each was given two hours and a few common ingredients to create six servings of an entrée. Each chef was also given a basket of surprise ingredients determined by 2012 Embassy Chef Winner and 2013 judge, Hungarian Chef Viktor Merényi.
Judges for Challenge Hungary included: Tim Carman, Food Reporter, The Washington Post; Chef Xavier Deshayes, Executive Chef, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center; Penny Karas, Owner and Executive Pastry Chef, Hello Cupcake; Chef Viktor Merényi, Embassy of Hungary, Judge’s Choice Winner, Embassy Chef Challenge 2012; and Chef Sina Molavi, Executive Chef, Occasions Caterers. The Good Foodie caught up with some of the chefs and judges who participated in Challenge Hungary on February 10. Click on the image below to watch them in action.
Part two of the competition will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC on March 14, 2013. Judges will announce results of the preliminary contest during this event.
On March 14, during the final phase of the Embassy Chef Challenge, chefs serving dignitaries and heads of states will compete for the People’s Choice Award, dishing up hors d’oeuvres highlighting their countries’ cuisine. Participating embassy chefs include: Chef Omar Hashimi, Embassy of Afghanistan; Chef Sherene N. James, Embassy of Jamaica; Chef Simon Liestoel Idsoe, Royal Norwegian Embassy; Chef Xu JinXue, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; Chef Kwang Kenneth Yang, Embassy of the Republic of Korea; Chef Roman Shchadrin, Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States of America; Chef Ismar Reyes, Embassy of El Salvador; Chef Nathan Bates, New Zealand Embassy; and Chef Mukesh Ramnarine “Chef Tiger”, Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Carla Hall, finalist and “Fan Favorite” from Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, will serve as a judge for the Embassy Chef Challenge on March 14. The evening’s festivities will also include silent and live auctions showcasing culturally diverse food and adventure packages.