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More Than 20 Washington Chefs Among the American Chef Corps
Check out the full list of toques turned diplomats. By Anna Spiegel
The American Chef Corps. Photograph courtesy of the State Department.
Comments () | Published September 11, 2012

As was widely reported last week, the State Department has teamed up with the James Beard Foundation (under the guidance of US Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) with an eye for turning chefs into vehicles for diplomacy.

The Department released a version of the list below (updated on September 7) of chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, and television personalities from across the United States that make up the American Chef Corps. Unsurprising for a government-based initiative—but a nice change of pace for certain other JBF lists—nearly half of the culinary ambassadors call Washington home or have opened restaurants in the area. Many have already earned the title of State Chef—toques who have completed their national duty by preparing a meal for American and foreign leaders, leading a program at an embassy in the US or abroad, or taking part in a “professional exchange” between countries. Check back in with us for more details in the coming months as the chefs embark on their global endeavors.

The American Chef Corps

Note: State Chefs are marked with an *


Washington chefs:

Victor Albisu ( the upcoming Taco Bamba)

José Andrés* (Think Food Group)

Jeffrey Buben (Vidalia, Bistro Bis, and the upcoming restaurant in the former Potenza space)

Scott Drewno (the Source)

Enzo Fargione (Elisir)

Maziar Farivar (Peacock Cafe)

Hoss Fuentes (the Palm)

Duff Goldman* (Charm City Cakes)

Todd Gray (Equinox, Watershed, and Muse at the Corcoran)

David Guas (Bayou Bakery)

Rock Harper* (Chef Rock, Inc.)

Mike Isabella* (Graffiato, Bandolero)

Chris Jakubiec (Plume)

Robert Kinkead (Kinkead’s)

Ris Lacoste (Ris)

Jamie Leeds (Hank’s Oyster Bar)

Anthony Lombardo (1789)

Spike Mendelsohn (We, the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery)

Wes Morton (Art and Soul)

Kaz Okochi (Kaz, Masa 14, El Centro D.F., and Oh! Fish)

Frank Ruta (Palena and Palena Cafe)

Barton Seaver (National Geographic fellow)

Vikram Sunderam* (Rasika and Rasika West End)

Bryan Voltaggio* (Volt, Lunchbox, and Family Meal)


Chef-restaurateurs with a DC location:

Guillermo Pernot (Cuba Libre)

Richard Sandoval (Masa 14 and El Centro D.F.)

Marcus Samuelsson* (Howard Theatre)

Floyd Cardoz (El Verano Taqueria; North End Grill in New York City)

Cristeta Comerford* (White House)

Chris James (State Department)

Sam Kass* (White House)

Jason Larkin* (State Department)

Roland Mesnier* (former White House executive pastry chef)

Kiesha Sellers* (Blair House)

Walter Scheib* (former White House executive chef)

Bill Yosses* (former White House executive pastry chef)

Ian Knox*(Blair House)


The rest of the chefs:

Nick Anderer (Maialino, New York City)

Michael Anthony* (Gramercy Tavern, New York City)

Dan Barber* (Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York)

Rick Bayless* (Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Chicago)

John Besh (Besh Restaurant Group)

Peter Betz (Waldorf Astoria, New York City)

Richard Blais (The Spence, Atlanta)

April Bloomfield* (Spotted Pig, Breslin, and John Dory, New York City)

Peter Callahan (Peter Callahan Catering)

Michael Chiarello (Bottega, Yountville, California)

Joe Cicala (Le Virtu, Philadelphia)

Scott Conant (Scott Conant Management)

Chip Flanagan (Ralph’s on the Park, New Orleans)

Larry Forgione (An American Place, New York City)

Amanda Freitag (Food Network personality)

David Garcelon (Waldorf Astoria, New York City)

Tariq Hanna* (Sucre, New Orleans)

Maria Hines (Tilth and Golden Beetle, Seattle)

Robert Irvine (Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible)

Jean-Marie Lacroix (Brûlée Catering, Philadelphia)

Mourad Lahlou* (Aziza, San Francisco)

Emily Luchetti (Waterbar and Farallon, San Francisco)

Tony Mantuano* (Spiaggia, Chicago)

Tony Maws (Craigie on Main, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, multiple locations)

Rick Moonen (RM Seafood, Las Vegas)

Masaharu Morimoto* (Morimoto, Philadelphia)

Marc Murphy (Landmarc, Ditch Plains, New York City)

Michael Nischan (Dressing Room, Westport, Connecticut)

Naomi Pomeroy (Beast, Portland, Oregon)

Olivier Reginensi (Le Cirque, New York City)

Andrea Reusing (Lantern, Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Matthew Ridgway (PorcSalt, Philadelphia)

Charlie Romano (Waldorf Astoria, New York City)

Aarón Sánchez (Centrico and Tacombi, New York City; Mestizo, Kansas City, Kansas)

Chris Santos (Stanton Social and Beauty and Essex, New York City)

Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga, Philadelphia)

Holly Smith (Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, Washington)

Angelo Sosa (Xie Xie, New York City)

Susan Spicer* (Bayona, Herbsaint, and Mondo, New Orleans)

Curtis Stone (host, Top Chef Masters)

Bryant Terry (author, Vegan Soul Kitchen)

Ming Tsai* (Blue Ginger, Wellesley, Massachusetts)

Joanne Weir (cookbook author, television host)

Cathy Whims (Nostrana, Portland, Oregon)

Alan Wong* (Alan Wong’s Restaurants)

Alex Young (Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia, Chicago)


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