Was that a Charm City Cake at last Friday's fancy cocktail party at the State Department in DC? Yes—and it was quite a beauty, pictured.
Was that Gunpowder Bison being featured in an appetizer? Yup. And there was Bryan Voltaggio, pictured below, assembling the short-rib dish in the posh Benjamin Franklin Room amid Corinthian columns and cut-glass chandeliers.
What was going on?
I was attending the reception as a member of the Association of Food Journalists during our annual conference in DC. None of us was expecting a gala featuring high-powered government types and dozens of high-profile chefs.
The event marked the introduction of a new diplomatic tool: chefs as culinary ambassadors. The American Chef Corps, with more than 80 chefs, will be promoting U.S. cooking abroad among other responsibilities.
The initiative, part of the State Department's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the James Beard Foundation, also includes a first class of "State Chefs."
And that's where Duff and Bryan come in. They are part of the prestigious group that was announced on Friday night, taking to the stage with a dozen other chefs dressed in snappy navy-blue jackets with special emblems.
Despite the decorum, Duff, pictured, managed to liven up the proceedings by stopping in the middle of the stage and declaring with glee, "This is so cool."
Yes, it is, Duff.
Photos by me