Culinary Diplomacy – celebrating changemakers in food, drink and hospitality
US Embassy, London – 21st June, 2023
Some food and hospitality professionals become powerful advocates for change, devoting their time and energy to tackling shared challenges, on issues relating to identity, equality and the natural environment. They were the focus of the Oxford Cultural Collective’s most recent Culinary Diplomacy event, held in partnership the the the US Embassy in London.
Supported by Visit California, the event included a reception and panel discussion in the Embassy, followed by dinner in Darby’s restaurant, for 120 invited guests, prepared by Chef Patron Robin Gill and his team.
For more photos from the event, follow this link.
The panellists were prominent figures, known as champions of change in the food and hospitality sectors, and in society more generally.
Samin Nosrat is a cook, writer and teacher. Her first book was the New York Times bestselling, James Beard Award-winning Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking. Her documentary series based on the book is streaming on Netflix. Born in San Diego to Iranian parents, Samin is known for celebrating California’s rich cultural diversity brought by its immigrant population.
Asma Khan is a lawyer by training, but chose to pursue cooking, her true passion. As one of the UK’s most prominent female chefs, Asma uses her public platform, and her restaurant Darjeeling Express, to advocate for progressive transformation in hospitality and in society.
Melissa Thompson is an award-winning food writer and cook whose articles on the British food industry have become focal points for important discussions on identity, diversity and inclusivity. She is co-director of the British Library’s Food Season and her debut cookbook, Motherland, explores the evolution of Jamaican food.
Jimi Famurewa is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, the chief restaurant critic for the Evening Standard and a regular guest judge on the BBC’s MasterChef. In 2022, he published Settlers: Journeys through the Food, Faith and Culture of Black African London, to much acclaim.
Chaired by US Cultural Attaché Christina Tribble, the discussion centred on the power of food to reconcile cultural differences, the need to accept shared responsibility for change and the means by which those working in food and hospitality can exert influence beyond their own professional realms.
Dinner, hosted by Samin Nosrat, was a celebration of growers, producers and chefs who are committed to environmental regeneration and to helping others flourish. Robin Gill paid tribute to Samin’s work as a chef and author, and for creating work that inspires, builds community and draws attention to important social and environmental issues.
From Donald Sloan, Chair of OCC: “Convening events that provoke new thinking on current challenges and that strengthen our collective resolve to embed ethical practice in our sector, is of immense value. And it’s a real privilege to bring together those with shared interests, from different backgrounds and generations, to eat and drink together, share personal experiences and build new relationships, which result in unplanned collaborations. This is the power of Culinary Diplomacy.“
With thanks to Visit California and Iconic Luxury Hotels