Chef Viktor Merényi, from the Embassy of Hungary, Wins Top Honors at the International Culinary Competition
Washington, DC – Chef Viktor Merényi, from the Embassy of Hungary, won top honors at the fourth edition of Cultural Tourism DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge, the annual culinary competition for Washington, DC embassy chefs on March 8 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Chef Merényi won the coveted Judge’s Choice award, the top honor of the competition. Chef Merényi’s winning dish was slow-cooked beef served with traditional Hungarian accompaniments, which he served 600 guest and a panel of celebrity judges. Chef Sondre Bruvik Ellingstad from the Royal Norwegian Embassy won the Challenge Denmark award, the preliminary Top Chef-style competition. Devin E. Johnson from the Embassy of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, won the Peoples’ Choice award for his dish Bahamian Seafood Duo. Embassy Chef Challenge was co-hosted by Cultural Tourism DC and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
Embassy Chef Challenge is an annual benefit for Cultural Tourism DC. The event not only enhances culinary diplomacy but also underpins the arts, culture, and history of Washington, DC by supporting Cultural Tourism DC’s free programs and events throughout the year.
Bio of the 2012 Winning Embassy Chefs
Judges Choice Winner: Viktor Merényi, Embassy of Hungary
Chef Merényi graduated from the College of Catering, Commerce and Tourism at the Budapest Business School Faculty of Commerce. Chef Merényi has offered extraordinary Hungarian culinary experiences to Washington’s diplomatic circles as well as in gastronomic events around the world. He is the two-time silver medalist of “Culinary World Cup Luxemburg” (2002 and 2006) and winner of the “Best Creative Foods” category at the Traditional and Evolution High Class “Live Kitchen” competition (2008). He has experience cooking in world-class restaurants in Budapest, New York City, and Wexford, Ireland. Chef Merényi received the “Challenge Sweden” award at Embassy Chef Challenge 2010 for his smoked catfish served with chicken-clerly salad, mesclun lettuces, cauliflower foam, and beet-root “caviar.”
Challenge Denmark Winner: Chef Sondre Bruvik Ellingstad, Royal Norwegian Embassy
Chef Ellingstad was the apprentice at Soho Kitchen and Lounge and Mathuset Solvold restaurant, before moving up to be the chef at Soho Kitchen and Lounge and Soho Salt. He participated in Seafood Chef in Norway in 2010.
People’s Choice Winner: Devin E. Johnson, Embassy of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Chef Johnson has more than 25 years experience as a professional chef. No stranger to competition, he has participated in numerous culinary contests, winning numerous awards. Previously, Chef Johnson served as food and beverage manager for Westin and Sheraton Resorts at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort in Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas; and executive chef at Westin Buckhead, Atlanta; and executive chef at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.
Note to Media: Request high resolution images or interview to Info@CulturalTourismDC.org.
Cultural Tourism DC acknowledges major sponsors for Embassy Chef Challenge 2012: The Regent Palm/The Hartling Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Lockheed Martin, UPS, Whole Foods Markets, Occasions Caterers, Amgen, Capital One, Microsoft, Bonstra | Haresign Architects LLP, The JBG Companies, Novartis Corporation, Pepco, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Marcel and Ann Scoffier, Marcel and Ann Scoffier, Victor Shargai and theatreWashington, Zagat. The Washington Business Journal and 94.7 Fresh FM are the media sponsors for this event.
Note to media: high-resolution images, bios, and headshots of chefs and judges are available upon request.
About Cultural Tourism DC
An independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition of more than 230 culture, heritage, and community-based organizations, Cultural Tourism DC and its members help residents and visitors experience DC’s authentic culture and heritage. For more information, visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org or call 202-661-7581.
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