Morocco shines for Africa at Washington DC 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge

Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco; winner of Judges Choice Award at 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge

Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco cooked Marrakech Tangia made with lamb shoulder sealed in a clay tangia jar to win the Judges Choice Award at the 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge (ECC). The event was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington DC on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

The Morocco chef, who was a debutant at the ECC told in an interview that he was really delighted to be in Washington, DC and even more excited to have won the event at his first try, saying: “Morocco first time and first place” with a smile.

Besides lamb shoulder, the chef from Morocco added traditional Moroccan spices and vegetable accompaniment sealed in a tanjia — a Moroccan clay jar purposefully for cooking such meals, to his cuisine. Meals cooked this way normally take between 4-6 hours to cook.

Some other popular Moroccan cuisine according to the chef are Couscous, Chorba, Cholent and Chebakia among others.

Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco; winner of Judges Choice Award at 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge speaks to Oral Ofori of

Haiti Chef Cynthia Verna won the People’s Choice Award to join Morocco’s Fedal in being crowned victors of the night and best chefs among the participating countries of this year’s ECC.

In an interview with, Erik Moses who is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Events DC Sports and Entertainment who helped put the event together said “this year’s event is one of the most successful ever.

Moses revealed that “in the 9-year history of the event, 2017 has seen the most participants ever, another significant thing also being that Chef Creig Greenidge; 2016 Judges Choice Winner from Barbados, returned to the event this time as a judge.”

Some 35 countries were represented at the 2017 ECC, which is almost a double from last year’s 18 participants. There were a lot of first-timers besides the winning country Morocco.

Other African countries like Kenya and Tunisia made their debut appearances alongside veteran participants like Mauritius and Rwanda who were both at the 2016 event. Ghana recorded her third appearance with veteran Chef Francis Otoo who said he was “really excited to see Morocco win.”

Chef Otoo said he really believed that “a victory for Morocco is particularly a victory for Africa and most importantly too, a victory for this night of great cuisine, culture, music and arts.

Chef Otoo in photo by Oral Ofori

The Ghanaian chef revealed that he will continue participating whenever he qualifies because the excitement in the eyes of people who eat his meal and commend it is equally a great victory. He also said the event gives him “a wonderful experience, plus a splendid opportunity to sell Ghana.”

The ECC is an annual international cooking and cultural event where embassies choose a chef to create a dish from their national cuisine to celebrate the cooking talents of chefs in the respective participating Washington DC embassies. The event is also a ‘Cultural Tourism DC’ event.

Find out more about ECC at

Check out a clip of Embassy Chef Challenge below:

Source: Oral Ofori /

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