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Hillary Rodham Clinton Takes Charge in the Kitchen for Diplomatic Dinners


If you think you’ve sat through your fair share of uncomfortable family dinner conversations, think again — we’re pretty sure the State Department plays host to much tenser tables than any you’ve known. But if you thought you’d never want to dine with the diplomats, one look at their recent menus might make you think again.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken it upon herself to ease the tension inherent in diplomatic dinners by recruiting top-notch chefs to create a personalized and decidedly stylish roster of recipes for visiting foreign dignitaries and heads of state. That means well-known chefs like Bryan Voltaggio of Maryland’s Volt and Ming Tsai of Wellesley, Mass.’s Blue Ginger have been invited to cook at the department's Washington, D.C. headquarters for visiting officials that share their cultural background.

For Chinese vice president Xi Jinping, Tsai served soy-marinated black cod and eight treasured rice packet with dried fruit and pork sausage, while Voltaggio served a cultural fusion of peekytoe crab with jasmine rice, yuzu, avocado, and soy air, followed by Wagyu beef for Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda. These cross-cultural meals are thoughtfully planned in order to diplomatically "share our culture with our guests," said Capricia Marshall to The New York Times. "At the same time, we don’t want to serve them their food, because they can do it better. But we want to give a nod to their culture in a fusion dish." Marshall is the chief of protocol who makes the calls on dinner when Clinton is away from headquarters.

From the recent Fourth of July contest for the "best apple dessert from an embassy kitchen" to providing a table of officials’ favorite snacks at the start of each meal, Clinton is intent on providing visitors with meals that pay homage to their culinary tradition while also showcasing American cuisine.

Clinton first took an interest in the White House culinary scene when she replaced the traditional French food and chefs with contemporary American cuisine prepared by an American chef as the first lady during her husband’s presidency.

Before Clinton revamped dinnertime, the State Department relied solely on local caterers, who supplied limited and often dull menus. In 2009, a special unit was created to handle all the secretary’s official activities when she is hosting foreign dignitaries.

Jason Larkin has been the executive chef and event manager for the department since 2006. With his assistant Chris James, he selects local and seasonal ingredients for his recipes, making for much more diverse and interesting meals.

Clinton plans to step down next year, but the office of protocol plans to continue the food initiatives far into the future, including a currently in-the-works program intended to spread the practice of diplomatic cooking to America’s embassies by linking domestic chefs with chefs overseas.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


Introducing the American Chef Corps

• The United States has a new team of culinary stars preparing to represent us at dinner tables around the world. The State Department introduced the American Chef Corps this past Friday night at a celebrity chef-studded event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played a strong part in guiding the emphasis at the State Department to fine dining with a truly American accent, and the U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department, Capricia Penavic Marshall, is now spearheading the State Department’s new Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, announced at the Sept. 7 event. And of course there was good American wine on hand: Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut and 2008 Wedding Cuvée were poured at a swanky reception in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, along with an array of food that included heirloom bean and bacon tostadas created by chef Mary Sue Millikin and sea-to-table seafood prepared by Amanda Freitag. The program elevates the traditional role played by food and the dining experience in American diplomatic efforts, and the evening marked the first gathering of the newly created American Chef Corps, a network of 80 chefs from across the United States who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State. About 50 of the inaugural 80-member corps were expected to be on hand, including Rick Bayless, Rick Moonen, Art Smith and Bryan Voltaggio. State Department spokesperson Jason Rahlen also spoke of plans to “get chef members plugged in when they are traveling abroad,” connecting them for speaking engagements, cooking demos and roundtable discussions at foreign embassies, and promoting American agricultural products in foreign markets. “Even those who don’t travel widely can receive culinary leaders from abroad here,” Rahlen said.

“This formalizes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concept of food and wine as diplomatic tools,” said Iron Horse CEO Joy Sterling, who was in attendance to pour her wines. “The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Everyone at the State Department seemed thrilled. On my way down from the eighth floor, the elevator operator asked me how it went, and when I told her I thought it was brilliant, she said, 'Why yes. Of course. Who doesn’t love food?'" Begging two questions: Why didn't anyone think of this years ago? And when will we see an American Vintners Corps? Sterling says she already suggested the idea to the powers that be, and we hope they take her up on it.

Unfortunately, as Unfiltered has reported in the past, wine has become a bit of a dirty little secret at White House state dinners: The White House no longer publishes the wine pairings on publicly-released state dinner menus after receiving backlash for serving expensive wines at a time when the economy is struggling (2005 Quilceda Creek was the most recent culprit to draw unwanted attention). In lieu of learning which wines Pres. Barack Obama and his guests are sipping, however, the Brewmaster in Chief has given us his recipes for two beers he makes in the White House kitchen with chef Sam Kass: White House Honey Brown Ale and White House Honey Porter. The honey for the two beers comes from the White House's own South Lawn beehive. You can check out the recipes, as well as a video of the beermaking process in the White House kitchen, at the White House's official blog.


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