POLITICS

Hat in hand, designer headed to D.C. for chef challenge

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Alicia M. Cohn

Tourism in the District isn't just about monuments and documents. This year's fifth annual Embassy Chef Challenge demonstrates D.C. culture also includes food and fashion.

Designer B. Michael is headed to town Thursday for the event, and said he looks forward to taste testing and promoting the host organization, the nonprofit Cultural Tourism DC.

The designer, who dressed Whitney Houston for the film "Sparkle," said D.C. is a fashion landmark, pointing to the historical influence the first ladies have had on American fashion. "I think that it is, in its own right, a fashionable city," he told Yeas & Nays.

Michael donated a hat to the event's silent auction in honor of Pat Skantze, the gala's first chairwoman in 2009. Skantze, who died in December 2012, was a well-known hat-lover who helped him launch his career as a millinery designer.

At this year's event, Cultural Tourism DC is announcing an award in her honor to recognize individuals or corporations making "a significant contribution to the cultural and diplomatic community."

Chefs competing represent the embassies of Afghanistan, Jamaica, Norway, Trinidad, China, Korea, Russia, New Zealand, South Africa and El Salvador.

"We are definitely looking forward to testing, trying all the foods from all of these chefs, which I understand are world class and serve heads of state," Michael said. "I am going in with an open mind; at this point they all have a fair chance with me."

Judges include Chef Duff Goldman from Food Network's "Ace of Cakes," Carla Hall of ABC's "The Chew" and Hello Cupcake owner/chef Penny Karas.

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Alicia M. Cohn

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner