White House executive chef Cristina Comeford recently went on a tour of Germany and France with 40 other chefs. So how does one gain entry into this exclusive club? Well, you kind of have to be the executive chef for a head of state. No biggie.
Every year since its inception 35 years ago, the group visits the country of one of their members to engage in “culinary diplomacy,” and this year, France and Germany co-hosted the weeklong trip in honor the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. This means noshing on Deutsche foods with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, dining at Alain Ducasse’s fancy Jules Verne restaurant on top of the Eiffel Tower, and talking about the intricacies of the American burger with French President François Hollande.
Though she’s the first woman to be inducted into the group, this isn’t Comeford’s first trip with the Club des Chefs des Chefs (she traveled with them to Beijing and Moscow in 2010 and 2011, respectively). But in the spirit of international diplomacy, she and the other chefs dished about how they had to change their cooking styles to suit the taste of their bosses. And sometimes, those can spawn Moments Of International Understanding, according to Gilles Bragard, who founded the CCC. “Nicolas Sarkozy had banished cheese from the Elysee table, but Francois Hollande has brought it back in,” he said to Yahoo! News. “Both he and Angela Merkel adore cheese.”
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