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How Africa won big at the U.S. chef challenge to prove the continent has the best meals

April 08, 2019 at 10:53 am | Foodie Friday

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

April 08, 2019 at 10:53 am | Foodie Friday

Photo via @oralofori on Twitter

The 2019 Embassy Chef Challenge took place at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center on Tuesday, April 2, with chefs from the Ghana, Morocco and Ethiopia embassies in the United States taking home accolades for their culinary skills.

The event, according to the organizers “celebrates culinary diplomacy and provides a uniquely DC opportunity to taste authentic food and drinks from embassy chefs representing all regions of the world.”

Chef Francis Otoo from the Ghana Embassy came up tops when his ‘Ashantie Mule Cocktail‘ received the Best Beverage Award. He also served his special lamb jollof which took second place at last year’s event, according to TheAfricanDream.

Chef Faycal Zahraoui from the Moroccan Embassy, who prepared Seafood Pastila with Smoked Potatoes also took home an award. The Embassy of Ethiopia’s Tebabu Assefa also won the ‘Macy’s Best Dressed award‘ for rich cultural display.

The Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC commended Chef Otoo for his achievement: “Ghana Embassy Chef, Francis Otoo did it Again! This time, he won the ‘Pepsi Best Beverage’ Award for his Delicious Ginger Beverage at the 2019 Embassy Chef Challenge on April 2, 2019, at the Ronald Reagan Building, International Trade Center.”

Chef Otoo also spoke with TheAfricanDream.net about his award and journey.

“Last year we won two silvers, this year we clinched one gold, but every year for the past 11yrs that I have participated – I always win a diamond! This is because the thousands of fans who show up to taste my food and drinks, as well as that of other participants, make the whole experience priceless for me,” he said.

Also joining the list of winners were the chefs from the Haiti and Barbados embassies who prepared their signature surf and turf pumpkin soup and guava brûlée pork belly dishes respectively.

“I want to thank this year’s champions Chef Javon Cummings of Barbados who won the coveted first place ‘Golden Pineapple’ in the Judges’ Choice Award and Chef Dimitri Lilavois of Haiti for grabbing first place in the People’s Choice Award and say Africa is proud of them,” Chef Otoo said.

“I also say thanks to the organizers, especially Events DC and TCMA and other great sponsors and supporters who have continued to make this beautiful experience started 11yrs ago by Linda D. Harper the wonderful international experience it has grown to become today,” he added.

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