Monday, March 15, 2010


Cultural Tourism DC’s second annual Embassy Chef Challenge features 12 outstanding chefs from Ghana and Israel to Belgium and Panama, all competing on Thursday, March 18 (6:30 – 10 pm) at the breathtaking House of Sweden (2900 K Street, NW) for the evening’s awards. Ambassador of Sweden Jonas Hafström and his wife, Eva, join Cultural Tourism DC in welcoming guests to the nonprofit organization’s benefit, which includes a silent auction and entertainment.

Leading up to the main event is Challenge Sweden, presented by Safeway, on Sunday, March 7, when six embassy chefs will cook head-to-head, Top Chef-style. The cook-off takes place in the kitchens of Occasions Caterers in Northeast Washington. Chefs from Belgium, Ghana, Hungary, Korea, Panama, and Qatar each receive salmon and a basket of surprise ingredients, drawn from Swedish cuisine. They have two hours to prepare a main course. The judging panel, which includes Martin Johansson, Embassy of Sweden chef, will reserve the name of the winner for the night of the Embassy Chef Challenge.

On March 18, all 12 chefs, including two ambassadors, prepare hors d’oeuvre for Embassy Chef Challenge guests and the judging panel, including Joe Yonan, The Washington Post food and travel editor; Michel Richard of Citronelle; Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora; and Chef Carla Hall of Alchemy Caterers and a Top Chef finalist. Event patrons vote for the People’s Choice Award, while the judges nominate their favorite.

Finally, chefs competing in both Challenge Sweden and the Embassy Chef Challenge are eligible to win the evening’s grand prize, Embassy Chef 2010.

“The Embassy Chef Challenge is on the cutting edge of the cuisine experience from around the world, and Washington, DC is the epicenter,” said Susan Clampitt, Embassy Chef Challenge benefit co-chair. “What better way to sample an international experience than by partaking of food offerings from every continent – right here in our nation's capital.”

The Embassy Chef Challenge provides a sneak preview – an “appetizer” – for Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC 2010, a celebration of international culture held in May (

Proceeds from the Embassy Chef Challenge, which is presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden, benefit Cultural Tourism DC. Tickets are available for purchase online at and by phone at 202-661-7581.

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