Cuisine and Coincidence at the Embassy Chef Challenge 2016

Where can one find tastes of eighteen countries’ best dishes in one impressive light-filled atrium?   At the Embassy Chef Challenge, an annual event sponsored by Events DC and Cultural Tourism DC, the folks who bring you the Embassy Open Houses every year.  If you are tired of hearing me declare that there are events that could only happen in Washington, DC, then skip to the next paragraph now – because this is yet another example of the genre.

The event is always a visual feast.  The Ronald Reagan Building’s atrium space  was filled with colorful displays from each country, interesting people, and some appropriately international entertainment.

The Way In

The Way In

Selfies Abound

Selfies Abound

Marilyn!

Marilyn!

A Shot From The Stairway

A Shot From The Stairway

Posing In El Salvador

Posing At El Salvador

Of course, the food provided its own entertainment.

Czech Duck With Cherries

Czech Duck With Cranberry Sauce

Czech Wine

Czech Wine

Ecuador's Shrimp Ceviche Had My Vote

Ecuador’s Shrimp Ceviche Had My Vote

I remembered Chef Andrzej Bielach from 2014

I remembered Polish Chef Andrzej Bielach from 2014

The Uzbekistan Table Was A Work Of Art

The Uzbekistan Table Was A Work Of Art

And The Plov Was Delicious

And The Plov Was Delicious

There were drummers, dancers, then more dancers, then more dancers.

African Drummers

African Drummers

Chinese Dancers

Chinese Dancers

Brazilian Dancers

Brazilian Dancers

Panchamama Dancers

Pachamama Dancers

This is the eighth annual Chef Challenge.  New this year (at least to me, as I missed last year’s event), extra points were awarded for pairing drinks with the small bites.  Thus, the night’s two winners both had tasty alcoholic tipples to drink with their food – the Barbados chef, winner of the Judges’ Award, even managed to infuse rum into the Barbadian Seasoned Pork to go with the Tamarind Ginger Infused Rum Sour.

Barbados Chef Creig Greenidge Handing Out Pork

Barbados Chef Creig Greenidge Handing Out Pork

The People’s Choice Award was won by the Philippines’ Chef Claude Tayag with Bringhe (seafood rice), paired with a special cocktail by Enzo Lim.  And guess what?  The minimal description of bringhe neglected to mention the secret ingredient – it was topped with crab fat.  Dynamite.

Philippines Chef Claude Tayag

Philippines Chef Claude Tayag

Philippines Drink Display

Philippines Drink Display

Bartender Enzo Lim

Bartender Enzo Lim

And then there was the coincidence: one of the chefs at the Dominican Republic table looked familiar.  Sure enough, the two Compres brothers, with their mother, run Los Hermanos  restaurant in Columbia Heights.  I had been there in April with a group of adventurous eaters, enjoying their oxtail, among other authentic Dominican delights.  This place is an unpretentious hole-in-the-wall with delicious food served in generous portions.  What a nice surprise to see them serving their mofongo (plaintains with garlic and meat)!

Dominican Brothers

 The Compres Brothers

 

At the end of the night, all the chefs and judges posed for a group photo, and the winners of the Challenge were announced.   They were presented with Golden Pineapples.  The Ambassador of Barbados and his wife couldn’t have been more pleased and proud!

Chefs and Judges

Chefs and Judges

The Ambassador's Wife, Chef Creig Greenidge, the Ambassador,  H.E. Mr. John E. Beale

 Chef Creig with the Ambassador,  John E. Beale, and His Wife

Both Winning Chefs With Their Pineapples

Both Winning Chefs With Their Pineapples

Everyone else was happy, too.

About Judy

I have been cooking and eating all my life. I help run the Olney Farmers and Artists Market in Olney, Maryland, arrange their weekly chef demos and blog from that website (olneyfarmersmarket.org) on Market matters. This personal blog is for all things foodie: cookbooks, products, restaurants, eating.
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