Lifestyle & Culture

News From the Embassy Chef Challenge

May 16, 2014


When the judges’ votes were tallied tonight at the 6th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge, the chef from the Royal Thai embassy,  Jiraporn Bunlert, and her Spicy Salmon Salad had taken the honors.

The People’s Choice Award, voted by the tastebuds of those attending the gala at the Ronald Reagan Building, was taken by Chef Roman Shchadrin of the Russian Federation with his, um, interesting Salmon Ice Cream with a sprinkling of caviar on top. “It’s not a dessert,” the chef was heard to insist. Seemed a mixed message, but it was hard to argue with the shot of vodka accompanying it.

Other outstanding dishes came from the Iraqi chef, Djamel Amroune, a delicious Iraqi Kibbeh; succulent New Zealand lamb chops with a salsa of kiwi and roasted red peppers; and the Venezuelan entry, Chef Angel L.’s Blackened Roast (like a tender short rib) and Delight Cassava Balls. All in all, yum.

I didn’t manage to connect with the winners of the MyLittleBird gala tickets, Jane and John H.  Zimmerman, who emailed me afterward to assure me they had had a great evening. “Even better,” Jane trilled, “I ran into my former housemate from grad school–he is now the Thai ambassador!  Hope your evening was as enjoyable as ours.”

Well, it was: I won a pair of tickets on Turkish Airlines, which I will use to go back to … Turkey! And in the gift bag I received upon leaving there was the most darling Turkish Airlines airplane bookmark with an amulet against the “evil eye” dangling from the tail of the plane.

Philanthropist and arts supporter Judith Terra was there, as was D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. We saw Cultural Tourism DC’s executive director, Steven Shulman, and PR phenom and networker extraordinaire Jan Du Plain (she’s the force behind Passport DC, which gets embassies to open their doors to the public every May). The Washington Post’s Julie Gunderson (FW magazine) and Emily Heil (Reliable Source) made their appearances. Mary Bird was there, of course, covering the event for The Georgetowner newspaper (it probably wasn’t her only event yesterday–the woman’s a dynamo).


–Nancy McKeon



3 thoughts on “News From the Embassy Chef Challenge

  1. Casey Hastings says:

    As a board member and sponsorship co-chair, thanks to all those that attended and sponsored! Appreciate the thoughtful write up as well! It was a wonderful evening and amazing Chefs – huge thanks to them and all their work. Each year’s winner is brought back the next year to highlight their dish, participate in the judging of the new chefs and provide support to those participating and provide their expertise to the event! We look forward to having the Chef from the Royal Thai Embassy back next year!

  2. Jaye says:

    New Zealand lamb chops were last year’s winning dish. There weren’t any lamb chops this year.

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      There were: Chef Bates was under the Oculus very early in the event (it paid to be early!). I noticed that the lamb chops were no longer in evidence as the evening went on. Guess I got lucky; sorry you didn’t.

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