Alexandria, VA, Oct 2, 2012 – Two worldly chefs brought a bit of soy-inspired finesse to Alexandria-area T.C. Williams High School today, in a demonstration supported by the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access program, and the State Department’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership.
The demonstration is part of the American Soybean Association’s larger effort to promote healthier, vegetable protein-based eating in the US and abroad.
Chef Ali Baba Gueye, who was born in Senegal but lived in the United States for many years, just returned from a week of WISHH and USDA sponsored training at the Northern Crops Institute (NCI) in Fargo, North Dakota. There, Gueye learned more about incorporating soy-based materials into baking techniques, something the chef had already begun to experiment with at his healthy food culinary school in Dakar, Senegal.
Though WISHH Executive Director Jim Hershey called this particular high school demonstration a “one-off” event, trainings at NCI like the one Gueye attended are a major focus for WISHH and the USDA’s Market Access Program. By teaching foreign chefs, cooks, and bakers to use protein-rich and American-manufactured soy goods, both hope to stimulate interest in American-grown crops while solving hunger abroad.
“Our famers [affiliated with the American Soybean Association] take their role very seriously,” Hershey said, “from an aid point view and from a trade point of view.”
Gueye makes the perfect ambassador—he plans to one day open a culinary school in every country in Africa. And after this brief stint in the U.S., he will travel to France next week, where he will teach soy-baking techniques to Parisian high schoolers.
Chef Victor Albisu, the other chef in attendance, is a veteran of both Washington and Paris restaurants, and a participant in the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, launched early last month. The program, which intends to capitalize on the growing global food culture that has made television programs like “Top Chef” hits, recruits high-caliber American chefs to “serve as resources to the Department in preparing meals for foreign leaders, and [to] participate in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States,” according to a press release.
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