The Washington Post

Chefs from Hungary, Bahamas, Norway get top prizes at Embassy Chef Challenge

Hungarian chef Viktor Merenyi won the Judge’s Choice Award at Thursday’s Embassy Chef Challenge. He presented a slow-cooked beef dish that “dazzled” the judges, pictured above. (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)

The judges, who included the Post’s Tim Carman, former Top Chef competitor Carla Hall, and last year’s challenge winner, Chef Lars Beese of the Danish Embassy, said Merenyi “dazzled” them with his presentation.

“He showed creativity, showed artistry, and did some pretty good cooking.”

Winning the People’s Choice prize was Chef Devin E. Johnson of the Bahamas, who made a seafood duo featuring conch and lobster with mango.

Competitors posed together following Thursday’s Embassy Chef Challenge. (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)

The Royal Norwegian Embassy’s chef, Sondre Bruvik Ellingstad, also received a nod from the judges, winning a prize for the first part of the two-part challenge, which was held two weeks ago.

Part one was a private quick-fire competition in which chefs had two hours to make a meal out of secret, Danish ingredients — a nod to last year’s winner.

The Embassy Chefs Challenge, now in it’s fourth year, drew nearly 600 guests. Proceeds from the event benefit Cultural Tourism D.C.

Thursday’s menu also included Jamaican escoveitch fish, Iraqi kibbeh, and other dishes including:

Smoked veal loin with carrot custard, by the Chef Vincent Muia of Switzerland. (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)

Fish cutlets by Chef Channa Perera of Sri Lanka. The dish elicited numerous exclamations of “Spicy!” over the course of the evening. (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)

Milk Pastilla by Chef Nazha Kasraoui of Morocco. One guest described this dessert — composed of a crispy pastry, nuts, berries and custard — as “a giant Frosted Flake.” (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)


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