We’re here to celebrate something that plays an important role in all of our lives—food. Food isn’t traditionally thought of as a diplomatic tool, but sharing a meal can help people transcend boundaries and build bridges in a way that nothing else can. Some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had with my counterparts around the world have taken place over lunch and dinner.
That’s why I’m delighted that the Office of Protocol has joined forces with bureaus across the State Department and the James Beard Foundation to create this initiative. By exploring the idea of “culinary engagement,” they’ve identified new opportunities to further intercultural dialogue and strengthen bilateral relationships, right at the dinner table.
This project will give us the chance to showcase the very best of what the American culinary community has to offer by assembling the “American Chef Corps,” a network of chefs dedicated to sharing our diverse culinary tradition by advising the State Department and participating in cooking demonstrations here in America and abroad.
So, once again, thank you all so much for coming. I only wish I could be there tonight to enjoy this moment—and this food—with you.