Executive Chef Francis Otoo of Ghana for 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge

Embassy Chef Challenge
Chef Otoo in photo by Oral Ofori

Come May 24, 2017, executive Chef Francis Otoo will make his fourth appearance at the Embassy Chef Challenge at the Ronald Raegan Building and International Trade Center. The over 6ft tall Ghanaian chef saw the Media Preview Dinner event hosted by the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC as a great warm up for the May.

On Wednesday March 22, 2017, Chef Otoo joined four other chefs at the Indonesian embassy to show off their culinary skills as they tantalized the taste buds of high ranking diplomats and ambassadors from his home country of Ghana and countries like Peru, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Belgium.

The menu of Chef Otoo at the Media Preview Dinner was ‘Aponkye Nkrakra’ or goat light soup, a very popular and well liked Ghanaian delicacy eaten with ‘Fufu’ which is made from pounded cassava, yams and or plantains. For the occasion, Chef Otoo chose yams, which he boiled (to a specific temperature) without pounding and toned down on the spice in the soup.

Ambassadors, Diplomats, organizers of Embassy Chef Challenge, Events DC, other special guests and the media present had a lot of good things to say about the Ghanaian chef’s ‘Aponkye Nkrakra’. TheAfricanDream.net noticed the gentle spicy kick to the chef’s meal, the juicy taste the goat meat brought to it and the toned-down spice with the tenderly boiled yam. Jan Du Plain of Passport DC said she “could live with [this Ghanaian chef’s dish] anytime.

In an interview with TheAfricanDream.net after his presentation, the executive Chef said he was happy about the responses received, “to me, it is not just about the taste only, the way food is presented in general is also very important, when people see your meal and the look of it makes them want to taste it then that’s a win, it’s even more glorious when they commend you for the deliciousness.”

Chef Francis Otoo made his first appearance at the Embassy Chef Challenge in 2010, two years after it begun in 2008, since then he has participated in 2015, 2016, and will again represent the Ghana Embassy in Washington, DC, where he has been the head chef since 2002.

His Excellency Budi Bowoleksono; Ambassador at the Indonesia embassy in Washington, DC and his wife Reshanty played hosts of the 2017 Media Preview Dinner. The Ambassador, himself a chef, said the culinary art “is not only about food, culinary can bring people together, culinary is a beautiful universal language… it is also a very effective tool of diplomacy.”

Chefs Creig Greenridge from Barbados and Claude Tayag of the Philippines walked away with the Judge’s Choice and the People’s Choice awards respectively at the 2016 Embassy Chef Challenge. The 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge; a signature event of Passport DC’s Cultural Tourism DC, will feature some 24 countries with Africa’s participation jumping to four as Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia make their debut appearances alongside veteran participant Ghana.

Find out more about the Embassy Chef Challenge: an annual fundraising benefit featuring international tastings, awards, entertainment, and a silent auction at www.culturaltourismdc.org and get to know Chef Otoo some more at www.fransarcateringservices.com

Source: Oral Ofori of TheAfricanDream.net

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