Swedish chef Frida Johansson's mouthwatering offering: smoked elk, vasterbotten cheese terrine, lingonberries and thyme foam. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Which is more than officials could say for one of the star judges for the evening. Good Stuff Eatery and We, the Pizza’s Spike Mendelsohn had a “last-minute scheduling conflict,” which sounds like celebrity-chef speak for, “I have better things to do.” At least the other former “Top Chef” contestant, Tamesha Warren of the Oval Room, had a good excuse for not arriving. She had a death in the family.

But you know what? Even with the smaller pool of competing chefs and the lower star-wattage over at the judges’ table — sorry, boss — the Embassy Chefs Challenge was still a great chance to sample many of the international cuisines found hiding in plain sight in our fair city. Lars Beese, the chef at the Royal Danish Embassy, may have walked away with the Judges’ Award, but his smoky asparagus soup and roast duck with plum chutney was not the only quality plate of the evening.

For the full story (with mouthwatering photos) and Tim Carman’s live tweets from the challenge, visit All We Can Eat.