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Announcing Our New Partnership With the U.S. State Department

Chefs from across the country will serve up international diplomacy

Maggie Borden

February 13, 2023


JBF CEO Clare Reichenbach in a blue dress signs the memorandum of understanding, with Chief of Protocal Ambassador Rufus Gifford on the right signing in a blue suit. Anthony Blinken looks on in the background
James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach and Chief of Protocal Ambassador Rufus Gifford sign the memorandum of understanding as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken oversees the proceeding (photo: Ronny Przysucha).

Last week, we were honored to join Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Chief of Protocol Ambassador Rufus Gifford for the launch of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership. During the ceremony and reception, which took place at the State Department in Washington, D.C., our CEO Clare Reichenbach and Ambassador Gifford signed a memorandum of understanding between the Beard Foundation and the State Department to codify our collaborative efforts to use food and hospitality as tools to engage with other nations on the global stage.

At the center of this partnership is the American Culinary Corps, a group of over 80 of the country’s leading chef and culinary professionals who will participate in programs and events on behalf of the State Department at home and abroad. JBF worked with the State Department to curate the list, and we are proud to count many of our Impact programs alumni among its ranks. This group of influential leaders embodies the power of the culinary community to not only reflect the diversity of cultures that make up the United States, but to serve as compelling advocates for food systems and industry change. As our CEO Clare Reichenbach said at the ceremony, “Together we recognize the power of food in cultivating human connection, and as a compelling expression of heritage and culture.  A shared meal and the story behind the plate can foster real empathy, can engender cross-cultural understanding and recognition of where we have been and where we are going as a society.”

After the signing, the more than 50 members of the American Culinary Corps attending the ceremony received their official blue chef’s jackets, kicking off their roles as ambassadors for American food, and American culture.

Watch the ceremony and learn more about the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership.


Maggie Borden is director of marketing at the James Beard Foundation. Follow her on Instagram @maggbo.