State Department Enlists Culinary Diplomats


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Hillary Clinton and the State Department are challenging the power of food by enlisting top chefs to join an effort to forge cultural exchanges over the dining table worldwide.

According to the Associated Press, more than 80 chefs were inducted into the first American Chef Corps last week. The roster includes Ming Tsai, Bryan Voltaggio, April Bloomfield, and Jose Andres, who cooked for the 50th anniversary of the department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

Chef Mike Isabella of Graffiato in Washington, D.C., is the first chef to formally represent America’s food culture abroad. He will be visiting Greece and Turkey to research flavors for an upcoming restaurant.

“By showcasing the best of American cuisine and creativity, we can show our guests a bit about ourselves,” U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall told the Associated Press. “Likewise, by incorporating elements of our visitor’s culture, we can demonstrate respect and a desire to connect and engage.”

And it’s not just American chefs who are going abroad. Chefs and food experts from 25 countries are visiting Washington, New York, San Francisco, the Midwest, and New Orleans this month to learn about U.S. food culture in a State Department program.