Executive Chef Ron Duprat1 Executive Chef Ron Duprat2
 

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What Does it Mean to be a Culinary Ambassador?

Part of being a chef is sharing a love of food within home-based communities as well as other nations. Spreading the love of food, its health benefits and its flavors is part of being a Culinary Ambassador – a distinction not just any chef can hold. Earlier in his career, Chef Ron Duprat was named a Culinary Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. But what does this mean exactly?

In 2012, the United States Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall launched the very first Diplomatic Culinary Partnership at the U.S. Department of State, an initiative designed to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts. As such, 50 prominent chefs from across the nation were chosen to serve in this important capacity as resources to the Department in creating meals for foreign leaders. The program also invites them to take part in public diplomacy programs that bring light to foreign diplomats, dignitaries and leaders both abroad and when they visit the United States on business.

This program is part of the American Chef Corps, a network of chefs from around the country who have agreed to take part in this initiative and act as representatives of the Department of State as part of a collaborative effort with the Office of the Chief of Protocol, the Bureau of International Information Programs, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In what’s been dubbed as “culinary diplomacy,” these efforts are an attempt to bring food culture to other countries. This is nothing new. Food has always been a big part of international relations when it comes to politics. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, coincidentally the nation’s first Secretary of State, was known to have ordered Virginia hams sent to him when he was serving as Minister of France, according to National Geographic. He did this so he could share a proud part of our culinary culture with foreign dignitaries and even French chefs.

The Culinary Ambassador program within the U.S. Department of State carries on the tradition of sharing important roots of food culture with other nations in an ongoing effort to build bilateral relationships that otherwise may not be possible.

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