News / USA

White House Africa State Dinner is Part of 'Culinary Diplomacy'

FILE - White House chef Cristeta Comerford holds produce in the kitchen of the White House in Washington.
FILE - White House chef Cristeta Comerford holds produce in the kitchen of the White House in Washington.
Reuters

A battery of chefs are hard at work in the White House kitchen in preparation for a dinner for nearly 50 heads of state from Africa.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will host the leaders Tuesday evening.

For White House chef Cristeta Comerford, what is delivered to the table is all a part of "culinary diplomacy.''
    
"Food sends such a wonderful message. You know we have here such a thing [called] culinary diplomacy," she explains. "Because I really do believe if you have a wonderful meal things and conversations are so much better. ''

Backed by about two dozen chefs, Comerford is crafting a meal that
will showcase American food, including produce from the White House garden.

"We are incorporating some of these wonderful vegetables from the [White House] garden, and also some of them are locally-sourced as well. And we are adding these to salads," she explained. "These guys are working on a spring onion that we will be grilling momentarily. So, we are pretty much just highlighting whatever is wonderful and seasonal out there, and things that we think the guests will really, really enjoy.''

While the official menu is still under wraps, Comerford offered a few clues.

"We are also adding a hint of some of the wonderful African spices and different things that would be dear and near to all our guests,'' she said.

For the U.S. Africa Summit, the White House Kitchen faced a logistical challenge.

"We have to take into consideration all of the dietary restrictions, the religious preferences of each country,'' Comerford said. "So a lot of research and hard work are put into everything.''  

In some ways the White House kitchen is like many others in the United States, there are notes on the refrigerator, and the size of the kitchen falls well short of an Olympic sized pool.

The kitchen might be small, but it's efficient,'' Comerford noted.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Erick from: Brea
August 05, 2014 1:15 PM
Efficiency and hardwork are the essence, keep up the wonderful service ma'am Comerford

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs