Styling Up the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative Reception

  • Peter Callahan Member of Chef Corps Diplomatic Culinary Partnership

    Last month I headed down to Washington D.C. for an incredible event celebrating the launch of the American Chef Corps, a part of the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative. In addition to providing food and styling for the event, I was honored and excited to become a member of the Chef Corps! I have always believed food is a powerful medium to bring people together, so catering the kick-off party for this amazing diplomatic endeavor was a wonderful honor.

    Chef Corps Group Shot Peter Callahan

    Chef Corps Group Shot {I’m in the back row, third from the left}

    The new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership is part of Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton’s “smart power” philosophy as executed by the uber-savvy U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall.

    According to Clinton, “Food isn’t traditionally thought of as a diplomatic tool, but I think it’s the oldest diplomatic tool. Sharing a meal can help people transcend boundaries and build bridges in a way that nothing else can.”

    Caprice and Peter Callahan State Department

    U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall and Peter Callahan at the Chef Corps Launch

    From what all the chefs have been told, that means we’ll help prepare meals for visiting dignitaries, travel to U.S. embassies abroad for educational programs with foreign audiences or host culinary experts from around the world in our kitchens. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to meet with chefs from around the world who want to know more about U.S. advances in moving food from farm to table and building stronger culinary businesses.

    On a tour of the White House

    Before the DCP Initiative reception started at the State Department, the Chef Corps was invited to a private tour of the White House. I particularly loved seeing the White House kitchens, where huge state dinners crank out of a small, extremely efficient space run by White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford.

    kitchen at the white house chef corps

    The White House Kitchen was efficient and well organized, particularly for its small size

    For the DCP Initiative reception, I was asked to cater all the passed savory hors d’oeuvres and a whole host of my mini desserts. Additionally, I was asked to style all the other food and beverage displays for the event with our custom-made elements, vessels and props. We styled a seafood station highlighting seafood salads by Chef Amanda Freitag, a carving station for Maryland Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s bison short ribs, an elegant “grains” station showcasing Chef Art Smith’s love of Farro, a farmer’s market stand for Chef Mary Sue Milliken’s bacon and bean salad, a charcuterie station with cured meats from Creminelli, a lattice-tiered Pie Station for the Pie Sisters and an elaborate cheese station with cheeses from around the country.

    Food Paparazzi Peter Callahan Chef Corps Launch Party

    Who knew there were food paparazzi to shoot my Pigs in the Blanket?

    Cheese Board Beverage Bar Chef Corps Peter Callahan

    A Classic Cheese Board with cheeses from all over the country

    Cutting Boards Chef Corps Peter Callahan

    Our Cutting Board Styling for Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s Bison Short Ribs

    Salad Station Chef Corps Peter Callahan Food Styling

    Farm Market Station for Chef Mary Sue Milliken

    Terrace Desserts State Dept Chef Corps Peter Callahan

    American Pie Station with the Pie Sisters

    David Adler CEO BizBash Peter Callahan Chef Corps

    Chatting with BizBash CEO David Adler

    david adler dept of state chef corps

    David proudly pointing out his name on the board

    A HUGE shout out to our friend David Adler, CEO and Founder of BizBash Media, who helped make this initiative come to life. Something that should also be noted is that the James Beard Foundation is a partner with the State Department in the Chefs Corps program. 

    James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro Peter Callahan

    Chatting with James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro

    Peter Callahan and White House Chef Sam Kass Chef Corps Launch

    White House Assistant Executive Chef Sam Kass is passionate about the program

    Chef Beth Parker Peter Callahan Catering State Dept Kitchen

    My crew working hard in the State Department kitchen

    iPad Photo Food Station Peter Callahan Chef Corps

    Always happy to see the guests were inspired by my food presentation

    Below is a list of all the Chefs in the Corps, check it out, as you’ll probably recognize some of your favorites from the Food Network and Top Chef, amongst others.

    The Diplomatic Culinary Partnership’s American Chef Corps

    Victor Albisu
    Nick Anderer
    José Andrés
    Michael Anthony
    Dan Barber
    Rick Bayless
    John Besh
    Peter Betz
    Richard Blais
    April Bloomfield
    Jeffrey Buben
    Terry Bryant
    Peter Callahan
    Floyd Cardoz
    Michael Chiarello
    Joe Cicala
    Cris Comerford
    Scott Conant
    Scott Drewno
    Enzo Fargione
    Maziar Farivar
    Chip Flanagan
    Larry Forgione
    Amanda Freitag
    Hoss Fuentes
    David Garcelon
    Duff Goldman
    Todd Gray
    David Guas
    Tariq Hanna
    Rock Harper
    Maria Hines
    Ris Lacoste
    Robert Irvine
    Jean-Marie Lacroix
    Mike Isabella
    Mourad Lahlou
    Jason Larkin
    Chris Jakubiec
    Chris James
    Sam Kass
    Robert Kinkead
    Ian Knox
    Jamie Leeds
    Anthony Lombardo
    Emily Luchetti
    Tony Mantuano
    Tony Maws
    Spike Mendelsohn
    Roland Mesnier
    Mary Sue Milliken
    Rick Moonen
    Masaharu Morimoto
    Wes Morton
    Marc Murphy
    Michel Nischan
    Kaz Okochi
    Guillermo Pernot
    Naomi Pomeroy
    Olivier Reginensi
    Andrea Reusing
    Frank Ruta
    Matthew Ridgeway
    Charlie Romano
    Aaron Sanchez
    Richard Sandoval
    Marcus Samuelsson
    Chris Santos
    Kiesha Sellers
    Walter Scheib
    Barton Seaver
    Art Smith
    B. Smith
    Holly Smith
    Angelo Sosa
    Kevin Sbraga
    Susan Spicer
    Curtis Stone
    Vikram Sunderam
    Ming Tsai
    Bryan Voltaggio
    Joanne Weir
    Robert Weland
    Cathy Whims
    Alan Wong
    Robert Wiedmaier
    Bill Yosses
    Alex Young
    Eric Ziebold
    Andrew Zimmerman

    Dinner Table State Department Chef Corps Peter Callahan

    State Department Dinner Table Presentation at Chef Corps



    October 3rd, 2012

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