Haiti Wins the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge


On the evening of May 24, 2017, the Embassy of Haiti competed against more than 30 countries and won the People’s Choice Award at DC’s prestigious global culinary event, Embassy Chef Challenge. Held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the annual competition brings together hundreds in the Washington community for an evening of cultural diplomacy. It is a unique opportunity for participating Embassies to feature and promote their culture through cuisine, music, and for the guests to sample flavors from around the world.

Haiti was pleased to have been represented by the celebrated Haitian Chef, Cynthia Verna, who was also the chef in residence at the Embassy of Haiti’s cooking class earlier this year. The Embassy was elated to welcome her back to Washington for this year’s Embassy Chef Challenge and congratulates her on a ravishing representation of the island. The Chef curated a traditional dish with a unique twist, Creole shrimp served cold topped with deep fried plantains, paired with a rhum cocktail.

The Embassy’s participation at Embassy Chef Challenge is part of its larger mission to share Haiti’s dynamic culture and rich history with a diverse audience in the U.S. One key vehicle is its monthly cooking class offered to the general public, free of charge, to help shift the often negative narrative of Haiti by highlighting its gastronomy. This initiative was officially launched in December 2016 with renowned Haitian Chef Stephan Berrouet-Durand, who was also a key contributor in the Embassy’s culinary program.

We invite you to (re)discover Haiti and all that it has to offer, from its art, music, cuisine and contributions throughout the Americas through the offered cooking class, weekly Open House (Wednesdays and Thursday) and other Embassy initiatives. For more information, please submit an email to amb.washingtonb@diplomatie.ht.


Photo Credit: John Drew from Professional Image, LLC

Please see below for the press release (EventsDC) 


May 25, 2017


Shayreen Lum, Linda Roth Associates

shayreen@lindarothpr.com; 202-888-3568

Chala Jones, Events DC

cjones@eventsdc.com; 202-695-9084


Haiti and Morocco Win 2017 Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge Awards

A record 33 nations offered food and beverages; attendees were the biggest winners

 Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2017) A sold-out crowd enjoyed authentic dishes representing the native countries of 27 embassy chefs at the ninth annual Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge presented by TCMA (A Drew company). An additional six nations represented themselves at a new ‘Sips and Sweets’ pavilion, offering guests a glimpse into global beverage and snack cultures.

Chef Cynthia Verna of Haiti was selected as the People’s Choice Award winner, chosen from votes cast by attendees. Her dish—consisting of shrimp, plantain chips and aioli with fine herbs—earned the most votes cast via social media and paper ballots. Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco walked away with the Judges’ Choice Award for his Marrakech tangia made with lamb shoulder, preserved lemon, saffron, turmeric, garlic, aged butter and olive oil sealed in a clay jar. He was selected by a panel of esteemed judges including:

  • Allison Aubrey, NPR
  • Valeria Barriga, Telemundo Washington D.C.
  • Chef Xavier Deshayes, Ronald Reagan Building
  • Chef Nelson Erazo, The Melrose Hotel
  • Christina Fulton, Macy’s, Inc.
  • Chef Creig Greenidge, 2016 Judge’s Choice Champion (Barbados)
  • Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian

Guests ate their way through an abundant array of foods and drinks prepared by the culinary teams representing Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.

Events DC Senior Vice president and Managing Director of Sports, Entertainment and Special Events, Erik A. Moses said of the participants, “We had the largest, most-diverse group ever represented at the Embassy Chef Challenge this year. The chefs who take part in our friendly competition each year continue to impress and the District is ecstatic to have them as part of our community. We look forward to continuing this great tradition in years to come.”

Media-ready photos of the event are available here, courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r4hkxmncga6m3z8/AAApdrY5S9rKFqdTvUcUEfFSa?dl=0. For more information on the Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge, contact Chala Jones at 202-695-9084.

For interview requests for the 2017 award winners, contact Shayreen Lum at 202-888-3568.


The 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge sponsors include: RCN Business, Pure Life Tea and 1893 (Pepsi products), DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, TCMA, Cultural Tourism DC, The Melrose Hotel, Capital Area Food Bank, The Washington Diplomat and Telemundo.

About Events DC

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that generates over $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the Stadium-Armory campus, which includes Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and Maloof Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Events DC also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. The most recent addition is Gateway DC, an innovative and versatile space featuring a covered and open-air pavilion in the center of a 1-acre park, conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.eventsdc.com and find us on social media – Facebook (Events DC), Twitter (@TheEventsDC and @TheEventsDC_SED for the Sports Entertainment and Special Events Division), and Instagram (@EventsDC).

About Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC)

The RRB/ITC is the first and only federal building dedicated to both government and private use, mandated by Congress, it unites the country’s best public and private resources to create a national forum for the advancement of trade. Owned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and exclusively managed by TCMA (A Drew Company), the Reagan Building is the official World Trade Center Washington, DC, and a premier conference and event venue with executive office space, attractions, dining, retail, parking, and community activities. For more information, please visit www.itcdc.com or follow us @ReaganITCDC.

About TCMA (A Drew Company)

TCMA is the exclusive manager of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC). TCMA’s team excels in delivering unparalleled service and expertise in Real-Estate Development, Leasing, Building Operations, Hospitality Services, and International Trade Promotion. For more information, please visit www.drewcompany.com.