K.Adak chai, samosa, chicken tikka, filni, gulab jamun are all familiar. Guilt in India recently brought his second place to Pakistan at the Embassy Chef His Challenge held in Washington. China won the highest award in the jury category.
As the name suggests, the annual cultural competition features chefs from embassies and restaurants cooking the best of their country’s cuisine. This year he was held at the Smithsonian Institution on October 13th.
The snacks prepared by Executive Chef Muhammad Asghar of Washington-based restaurant Shinwari Bar & Grill earned Pakistan second place in the People’s Choice Awards category. He was joined by Mariha Shahid, the cultural officer at the Pakistani Embassy in the American capital.
Asghar’s restaurant, located in Washington’s bustling Chinatown district, will open in 2021 and offer diners “home-style comfort” cuisine. The Afghan and Pakistani establishments are popular with locals for their diverse menus and timeless South Asian dishes such as kebabs, chicken tikka, vegetable tikka and al sabzi.
Building bridges through food
Such cultural competition transcends political frictions and tensions. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden described Pakistan as “one of the most dangerous countries” to “disconnected nuclear weapons.”
But good food is always a unifying factor. “It is his third time for Pakistan to participate in the Embassy Chef His Challenge and it is a great opportunity to celebrate Pakistani cuisine, bridge cultural differences, promote international understanding and showcase Pakistani products. ” said Ambassador Masood Khan, who attended the event. .
“Achieving the top three places in the People’s Choice Awards demonstrates the strong international appeal of our cuisine to palates around the world, and we want to take our culinary diplomacy to even greater heights. I’m thinking,” he added.
Using food to foster cultural connections and nurture relationships is a tool Pakistan hopes to build. In February 2020, the wives of her 50 foreign ministers from Pakistan met in Islamabad to publish a cookbook called ‘Culinary Diplomacy: Sharing Recipes, Building Bridges’. “This is a great initiative to showcase culture through cuisine,” added Samina Alvi, wife of President Arif Alvi.
In 2014, veteran Karachi chef Mohammad Arif, who visited Kolkata for the Food Summit, advocated delicious diplomacy. “All preparations are different from the local varieties, allowing real diplomacy. If we do, a lot of our worries will go away,” he said.
China, too, is capitalizing on its cultural goodwill by offering a piece of its homeland. The winning meal was fish-flavoured shrimp dumplings and mapo tofu served with Chinese tea and a typical local dish, baijiu.Uganda Already used Made with ‘Matoke’, a type of banana that is the staple food of the African nation, it is served with greens, beef stew and banana fritters.
Mexico’s leading chef, Aram Mendez, takes this job seriously. “As chefs, we are messengers of mothers and grandmothers who have been cooking for centuries. Our mission is to preserve the culinary traditions of our community,” he said in an interview. .
The DC Embassy Chef Challenge, part of Washington’s International Food Festival, is back to celebrate “Culinary Diplomacy” for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Hundreds of attendees came from near and far for the sold-out event.
Launched in 2009, the event annually brings together embassy chefs from 40 countries to compete in a friendly competition. “This is great. It’s a lot more interesting than I expected. So far everything is going really well, but I love Madagascar,” said an attendee. “So far El Salvador is winning,” said another person excited about his choice category Peoples.
For those eager to expand their taste buds and indulge their culinary fantasies, ‘food diplomacy’ has a very good chance of success, and Pakistan is leading the way.