culinary diplomacy

The U.S. will show itself off as "Food Truck Nation" at the Milan Expo, bringing six authentic food trucks to Italy as part of its participation in the event opening in May for six months.  The Expo theme is food and nutrition.

The wonderfully named Thai Delicious Committee, a Thai-government-sponsored agency, has developed a machine that can supposedly distinguish genuine green curry from inferior imitations of the country’s classic dish. The existence of an officially sanctioned Thai green curry recipe, not to mention a machine programmed to robotically taste it, is but one example of Thailand’s ongoing efforts in culinary diplomacy.

Food diplomacy initiatives are increasingly being recognized as a successful means to open up peace dialogue as a result of our increasingly cosmopolitan palettes. Food is one of the oldest forms of exchange, with yet untapped recognition to deliver social conflict transformation. With this in mind, International Alert's Conflict Kitchen London opens up a new avenue to pursue peace dialogue by taking people on a tantalizing journey exploring new culinary experiences.

Anthony Bourdain's television travelogue "Parts Unknown" goes to Iran to discover how people live behind the geopolitical smoke screen and to small-town Massachusetts to chronicle the heroin scourge. But even if the fourth season of his Emmy Award-winning CNN show fosters cultural diplomacy or raises drug awareness, this outspoken New York chef insists he is on no kind of socially minded mission. 

As you may have heard, America's diplomats are struggling these days with a few distracting and unpleasant events in far-off parts of the world. But they're rising to the challenge: They're sending in the chefs. The U.S. State Department launched a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership two years ago in order to "elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts." 

The gastronomic fair is part of the Peruvian "food boom" that's put Lima on the map for epicurean excellence,according to The Wall Street Journal and others. The festival has grown from just 30,000 attendees back in its first year, 2008, to an estimated 600,000 this year. Indeed, food may be the country's greatest passion. 

Japanese noodle-soup shops can be found from Sydney to Stockholm. In Washington, New York and Los Angeles, long lines form at the hippest new ramen restaurants.  The Japanese government is also using ramen as a form of soft power — or at least al dente power.

Back in September 2012 the U.S. launched a formal program called the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership. As part of this, American chefs are stationed with U.S. embassies in different countries, where they cook different styles of American cuisine and help people in other nations understand the nuances of “American food” beyond hamburgers and pizza.

Pages