Representatives of 12 nations compete for the title of top embassy chef

Melissa Benson Contributor
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WASHINGTON- Diplomacy took a backseat to head-to-head competition Tuesday night as chefs from 12 countries vied for the title of top embassy chef.

The third Embassy Chef Challenge, sponsored by by Cultural Tourism DC at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, highlighted world cuisine ranging from Baba ghanoush from Iraq to Peruvian ceviche.

The first half, which took place on March 26, was a Top-Chef style challenge in which the embassy chefs had to prepare a meal with a surprise bag of ingredients. Tuesday’s competition allowed guests to sample different foods, then vote for their favorites.

For the chefs, it was a chance to challenge themselves and find creative presentations for classic dishes.

“I became a little more creative with my indigenous food to make sure that it’s different,” said chef Michael Nathan Adderley of the Embassy of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Other chefs represented the embassies of Bulgaria, China, Denmark, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Norway, Peru, Sweden, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Venezuela to participate. Many said they felt the event was a way to share their culture.

“We decided to participate in order to further and more thoroughly present our country to the audience here in the federal capital,” said chef Yordan Dimitrov of Bulgaria, through a translator.

Peru’s embassy won the people’s choice favorite. And the Danish embassy took home the judge’s favorite award as well as the overall winner.

WATCH: Embassy Chef Challenge: