Over 35 embassy chefs compete, and the winner is…

Have you ever wanted to try authentic food from different cultures and countries? How about trying over 35 all in one night?

Enter: the 2017 Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge presented by TCMA. Over 35 chefs representing their embassies descended upon the Ronald Readon Building on Wednesday for a little (friendly) competition. They each created one dish to serve, and many also presented a cocktail.

And yes, I did try them all, and left with a full, happy stomach, and tastebuds tingling from all the different flavors.

An esteemed panel of judges selected a Judges’ Choice winner– Morocco! And we, the general public, voted for the People’s Choice winner– Haiti!

Truly, those two chefs made fantastic dishes, but everything was quite outstanding.

And so, below are the Top 5 dishes from the 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge (according to my taste buds):

  1. Cyprus, Chef Kostantinos Pitsillides– Tender, juicy lamb served with pomegranate seeds and a delectable sauce and seasonings. The dish is called isamarella, and it was amazing. So amazing in fact that a quick google search turns up zero results for the word. So, my description is lacking. But this was the best lamb I’ve ever had:

2. Iraq, Chef Djamel Amroune– Kibbeh over crusted lamb chop with cilantro mechouia lamb jaus. This dish actually got my vote, because of the flavor and presentation. Beautiful, melt-in-your-mouth lamb.

3. Haiti (the people’s choice winner!), Chef Cynthia Verna– Shrimp with plantain chips and a dot of fine herbs aioli. YUMM this shrimp was deliciously spicy. Not burn-your-mouth spicy, but heat with a flavor that is undeniable. I’d love to eat this again..

4. Barbados, Chef Damian Leach– pina colada mahi mahi. What a cool concept. There were several elements to this dish, from the creamy (pina colada-esque) base to the perfectly flaky mahi.

5. Greece, Chef Eugenia Hobson– portokalopita. Porto-a-what?! Yes, I googled it. It’s traditionally a greek yogurt, filo, and orange-soaked cake. The result is a dense, but not too heavy-feeling, super-moist cake oozing with flavor. It doesnt even have chocolate, and I had to hold myself back from having a second piece. Me, the chocoholic. That is saying something!!

Of course, there were far more than 5 outstanding dishes! I’m going to let pictures take it from here. If you attended the event this year, you know how fabulous it was. And if you missed it, allow me to convince you through your visual taste-buds that it’s a must-attend!


Until next time, enjoy!