Around the World at the Embassy Chef Challenge

“Qatar and Rwanda are blending.”

“I was heading to Honduras, but got stuck at Iraq.”

“Belgium or Haiti…I can’t decide.”

I could have spent the evening chuckling at phrases like these, but there was too much fabulous eating to do at the Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge held May 24 at the  Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

The sold-out crowd of 1,200 enjoyed dishes from 27 embassy chefs from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.  While the event is primarily about the chefs showcasing the flavors of their respective countries, they are also competing for the titles of Judges’ Choice Champion and People’s Choice.

 Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco was the Judges’ Choice Champion for his Marrakech tangia made with lamb shoulder, preserved lemon, saffron, turmeric, garlic, aged butter and olive oil sealed in a clay jar.

Morocco’s winning dish

Chef Cynthia Verna of Haiti was selected as the People’s Choice Champion, chosen from votes cast by attendees. Her plate of shrimp, plantain chips and fine herbs aioli won a majority of votes cast via social media and paper ballots. I concur- as I voted for this dish as one of the favorites.

Haiti Chef Cynthia Verna

Here are some of my other highlight dishes.

Mauritius Chef Geovanni Merle, crispy wonton stuffed with fish pickles


from Indonesian Chef Galih Kuntobaskoro, piti urap dengan sate serepeh (chicken with coconut vegetables)


Honduras Chef Yovanna Reiser, enchiladas with habanero sauce


Greece Chef Eugenia Hobson, Greek dolmades and portokalopita


Belgium Chef Jan van Haute, textures of the Belgian North Sea: cod sous vide, mussel veloute, Belgian wafel crouton


Events DC Vice President Erik Moses said of the participants, “We had the largest, most diverse group ever represented at the Embassy Chef Challenge this year. The chefs who take part in our friendly competition each year continue to impress me and Washington is ecstatic to have them as part of our community. I know guests last night were able to taste some of the finest foods in the world, and we look forward to continuing this great tradition in years to come.”


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