Published: May. 24, 2022 at 4:06 PM EDT

Two U.S. Chefs were selected to Lead the Culinary Diplomacy Project Visit to Canada, a program formerly established with the State Department
Chef David Guas, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery
Chef Maria Mazon, Boca Tacos y Tequila

 WASHINGTON, May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The importance of cultural exchange is a priority as we witness through crisis situations, food strengthens relationships between countries. Food is a connective tool that encourages understanding and respect through the sharing of customs and traditions.

The Culinary Diplomacy Project [US] uses the power of food to break barriers and prioritize a global cultural exchange.

Founded in this belief, Lauren Bernstein, formerly the Director of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership - under the U.S. State Department, during the Obama Administration - established The Culinary Diplomacy Project [CDP.]  The non-profit organization promotes mutual understanding among people of different cultures through the power of global culinary exchange. May 2022 marks the first collaboration with the ally country, Canada. Working with a growing global network of celebrity chefs, the CDP organizes travel to destinations abroad - engaging communities, governments, NGOs, and the media with a focus on culinary cultural exchange.

This is the first CDP Canada-USA Chef Ambassador visit in the name of culinary diplomacy. The CDP partnered with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology [SAIT,] - the first culinary school in North America to implement a culinary diplomacy curriculum for hundreds of students. Two participating Celeb Chefs are: David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery [Arlington, VA,] - [In 2015, worked with Bernstein to participate in a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership in Brazil] a James Beard Award Cookbook Finalist, Host/Judge of Travel Channel's "American Grilled," and recently back from the Poland/Ukraine border preparing meals for refugees with World Central Kitchen; and Maria Mazon of Boca Tacos y Tequila [Tucson, AZ,] a fifth runner-up on Bravo's "Top Chef: Portland" in 2021 and a James Beard Award semi-finalist for "Best Chef: Southwest" in 2020. The chefs taught the students how to prepare American dishes that speak to their culture – with ingredients sourced from regional Canadian purveyors, dedicated to sustainability.

The Culinary Diplomacy Project has a strong mission to use food, and its power - especially when shared with others - to break barriers. Through the CDP, this work is already underway.

School of Hospitality and Tourism at SAIT   
SAIT is a leader in applied education, delivering student-centered learning that balances practical skills, human skills and a community driven mindset, all through immersive learning environments taught by a world-class faculty. The School of Hospitality and Tourism is ranked both the #1 hospitality management and #1 culinary school in Canada, and #18 globally. SAIT has living kitchen labs where students get the feel for industry in a safe learning environment serving and preparing food for customers in the Tastemarket, the Butchery, The Highwood, and The International Culinary Campus.

Culinary Diplomacy at SAIT  
Two new Culinary Diplomacy and Anthropology courses have been established, championed by culinary faculty member Rosalyn Ediger and inspired from her experience as chef de cuisine with a Canadian Embassy. As of January 2022, the course is being taught to all Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts students. In addition, the concepts of culinary diplomacy and anthropology are weaved through the various technical courses the students take while completing their culinary diploma.

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