Chefs of heads of state on peace mission to Israel

Delegation devoted to world peace bring "truffle diplomacy" to Middle East.

By
February 2, 2012 01:42
3 minute read.
CHEFS OF world leaders   ‘Cooking for Peace'

Chefs for Peace 311. (photo credit: Yoni Reif)

Earthlings rest assured: An all-star team of chefs has formed a “coalition of the cooking” devoted to the cause of world peace.

The delegation from the group “Club des Chefs des Chefs” (CCC) met on Wednesday morning at the Herods Hotel in Tel Aviv (“Le city de over-priced restaurants and bars”) where they spoke about the mission that brought them to Israel – a sort of “truffle diplomacy” to the Middle East.

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The chefs included White House Executive Sous Chef Tommy Kurpradit; Jerome Rigaud, head chef of the Kremlin; Ulrich Kerz, chef of the Federal Chancellory of Germany; Bernard Vaussion, head chef of the Elysee Palace; Christian Garcia, chef of the prince of Monaco; and Shalom Kadosh, the executive chef of the Fattal Hotels Group.

The delegation came following an initiative launched by Kadosh, a member of the CCC. During their visit, the chefs will tour Israel, meet local chefs and cook a dinner with Israeli and Palestinian chefs at the Herods Hotel called “Cooking for Peace,” with the proceeds going to the Peres Center for Peace.

Kurpradit was a last-minute replacement for Executive White House Chef Cristeta Comerford, who was not able to attend. Kurpradit said he does not have his own Secret Service detail, or code name, disappointing those who may have been hoping that he would reveal that his bodyguard’s call him “The Crepe Pan” or “The Turkey Baster.”

Kurpradit did reveal, maybe somewhat unsurprisingly, that First Lady Michelle Obama calls the shots around the White House kitchen in that the menu is heavilyinspired by her healthy-foods initiative.

When asked if there are any steps taken to prevent anyone from poisoning the chief of staff, the first family, or White House dog Bo, he replied “no comment,” and hurried down a stairway for the hotel kitchen.

Rigaud spoke of preparing meals for Russian banquets, which are often of a Siberianscale, with thousands of guests wolfing down haute cuisine and, one assumes, prodigious amounts of vodka and champagne.

Rigaud is originally from France, and while his employment at the Kremlin could suggest a troubling new Franco-Russian alliance, it is in keeping with a tradition held by the tsars, who typically staffed their palace kitchens with French chefs.

Rigaud also revealed that while in the employ of Vladimir Putin, he has learned how to make a dynamite bowl of borscht. In a slip of the tongue he may regret later, Rigaud said he has shared the borscht recipe with his German counterpart Ulrich Kerz, a security breach that could inflame his employers in Moscow.

Kerz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s schnitzel provider, showed off the dish he has prepared for the banquet: apple strudel with vanilla sauce, cream of yogurt, and a single piece of ravioli made from two thin circular apple slices. The ravioli not only looked delicious, but also appeared to be a classic example of German engineering and efficiency.

All the chefs said that the dishes they plan to prepare will be kosher.


CCC President Gilles Bragard, a French industrialist, said the group includes chefs of heads of state from 30 countries.

When asked why they did not invite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s personal chef (assuming he has one), he pointed out that since the PA is not a member of the CCC they did not invite someone from the Muqata.

His clarification was comforting for those picturing a heavy-set Palestinian man in a chef’s toque being held up by IDF troops at the Qalandiya checkpoint on one of the rainiest days of the year.

Bragard believes the group is “the most exclusive gastronomic club in the world, because you must be the chef of the head of state.” He added that he feels that chefs are “the best ambassadors of the country,” arguing that just as the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the same goes for diplomacy.

One can only hope that the next time the CCC visits Israel the delegation will include the ayatollahs’ personal chef, who will dine in an upscale Tel Aviv restaurant and embrace his Israeli counterparts in peace, before being presented with the higher-priced tourist menu.


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