FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Thai Chef Jiraporn Bunlet and Russian Chef Roman Shchadrin Win Top Awards at Cultural Tourism DC's Embassy Chef Challenge
Michelle Cragle, Director of Communications and Marketing
Washington, DC (May 20, 2014)—Chef Jiraporn Bunlet from the Royal Thai Embassy won the coveted Judges' Choice Award at Cultural Tourism DC's Embassy Chef Challenge—the 6th annual culinary competition for DC embassy chefs—held May 16 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Her winning dish was Phla Salmon (Spicy Salmon Salad) which she served to a panel of celebrity judges that included Top Chef contestant and DC restaurateurBart Vandaele.
Chef Roman Shchadrin from the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States of America won the People's Choice Award for his dish Salmon Ice Cream.
Embassy Chef Challenge is an annual benefit for Cultural Tourism DC. The event not only encourages culinary diplomacy, but also celebrates DC's arts, culture and heritage by supporting Cultural Tourism DC's programs and events throughout the year.
"It was a great honor for Thailand not only to participate in the Embassy Chef Challenge for the first time, but also to win this year's Judges' Choice Award in a field of highly talented chefs from other embassies. We would like to express our appreciation and commendation to Cultural Tourism DC for organizing such a wonderful event which allows those in the Greater Washington area to sample the rich diversity of cuisines available in the nation's capital," said Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Ambassador of Thailand.
"I enjoyed taking part in the Embassy Chef Challenge and hope that my dish hit the taste of the public, but the most important thing was having the opportunity to meet an exchange views with my colleagues from different Washington embassies as well as local haute cuisine connoisseurs at this perfectly organized event," said Roman Shchadrin, Chef, Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States of America.
ABOUT 2014 WINNING CHEFS
JUDGES' CHOICE AWARD
Chef Jiraporn Bunlert, Royal Thai Embassy
Chef Bunlert was born and educated in Samut Prakarn Province in Thailand. After working as an employee at Trimit Rubber Industry Co. Ltd. for 18 years, she opened her own Thai restaurant in 1997. In 2006, with a dream to help promote Thailand through delicious Thai cuisine, Chef Bunlert became head chef of Thailand's ambassadors to the State of Kuwait and then the Hellenic Republic. Currently, she is the head chef of the Ambassador of Thailand to the United States.
PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
Chef Roman Shchadrin, Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States of America
Chef Shchadrin is a graduate of the Moscow Culinary College. Following his graduation in 1993, he served as a chef at the highly regarded Moscow restaurant named Prague. His prior experience includes service as the chef at the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Chef Shchadrin collaborated with the Russian ambassador for weeks to create his entry .
PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES AND CHEFS
Embassy of the Republic of Botswana, Chef Boitshwarelo Graffius
Embassy of the Republic of Congo, Chef Godeleine Ngoma Adiwa
Embassy of El Salvador, Chef Edgar Meléndez
Embassy of Iraq, Chef Amroune Djamel
Embassy of Italy, Chef Roberto Grazioli
Embassy of Jamaica, Chef Sherene James
Embassy of Nepal, Chef Chetnath Bhandari
Royal Norwegian Embassy, Chef Sindre Risvoll
Embassy of Republic of Poland, Chef Andrzej Bielach
Embassy of the Russian Federation to the USA, Chef Roman Shchadrin
Royal Thai Embassy, Chef Jiraporn Bunlert
Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Chef Mukesh "Tiger" Ramnarine
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, Chef Hasan Siyam
Embassy of Uzbekistan, Chef Muhammadali Aliyev
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Chef Ángel L.
MEET THE JUDGES
Chef Nathan Bates, New Zealand Embassy Chef and Embassy Chef Challenge 2013 Winner
Tim Carman, Food Reporter, The Washington Post
Lauren DeSantis, Blogger and Star of "Capitol Cooking with Lauren DeSantis"
Chef Xavier Deshayes, Executive Chef, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Chef Amy Riolo, Culture of Cuisine Cooking Show and Award Winning Cookbook Author
Chef Joan Nathan, Award-winning Author and PBS TV Star
Chef Bart Vandaele, "Top Chef" Contestant and Owner of DC's Belga Café and B Too
EMBASSY CHEF CHALLENGE SPONSORS
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Turkish Airlines, Events DC, Melrose Georgetown Hotel, A-B InBev, Destination DC, The Coca-Cola Company, Daimler, Forest City, Alliance Insurance Services, Caterpillar, King & Spalding, The George Washington University, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Stanton Development Corporation, and WalMart.