Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Amici e Cucina

Scott Drewno
Last September, the U.S. State Department joined forces with The James Beard Foundation to launch an innovative new program to help bridge cultural and communications gaps with other nations using a universal language: food. A year later, as The James Beard Foundation’s Taste America®: “Local Flavor from Coast To Coast,” a national traveling food festival prepares to visit Washington, D.C., on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28, plans are now in place to honor the woman who led this unique and widely acclaimed diplomatic effort. 
Mike Isabella and Todd Gray
Ambassador Capricia Marshall, the former U.S. Chief of Protocol, understands better than most the powerful and persuasive nature of a shared meal. Beyond promoting national or local culture, exposure to new foods and culinary traditions can break down barriers and set the stage for open communications. Marshall stood up the unique culinary diplomacy project which included the creation of the American Chef Corps to showcase the exceptional talent among the American culinary community. The initiative elevated the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts. Chefs from across the country served as resources to the State Department, preparing meals for foreign leaders and participating in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad and in the U.S.
Enzo Fargione
A weekend-long tour, Washington, D.C.’s Taste America festivities will kick off on Friday, September 27 with an official gala and benefit dinner, ‘Amici e Cucina’ (Friends in the Kitchen), at the Embassy of Italy (3000 Whitehaven Street, N.W.) beginning with cocktails at 6:30pm. At 7:30pm, guests will be seated for dinner, featuring a menu created by James Beard Award winner and Taste America All-Star Sean Brock (HUSK) with support from a number of local culinary superstars, including James Beard Award winner RJ Cooper (Rogue 24), Scott Drewno (The Source by Wolfgang Puck), Todd Gray (Equinox), Haidar Karoum (Proof), Enzo Fargione (Osteria Elisir), Vikram Sunderam (Rasika), Tony Conte (Oval Room), Mike Isabella (Graffiato), and Alison Reed (Ripple). Tickets for the public are available at
Vikram Sunderam
The James Beard Foundation is proud to donate a portion of the proceeds to Washington’s FRESHFARM Markets, a charity whose mission is to build and strengthen the local, sustainable food movement in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
RJ Cooper
In addition to the benefit dinner, a series of free, in-store consumer retail events will take place on Saturday, September 28 beginning at 10 a.m. at Sur La Table (326 King Street, Alexandria, VA). Activities will include a cooking demonstration with All-Star Sean Brock, as well as cookbook signings, local artisanal tastings, and more.

For more information on the events or local sponsorship in Washington D.C., please contact Patricia Anderson at or 202.449.4180, or visit

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