Yesterday, the Club des Chefs des Chefs, an elite association of chefs for heads of state from all over the world, visited Union Market for a tour and luncheon at Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Each year, the club meets in a different country to explore the local gastronomy and talk diplomacy through food, and for the first time in 10 years, the U.S. hosted this year’s annual reunion.
Members of the club include the chefs for the queen of England, the king of Thailand, king of Sweden, prince of Monaco, the German chancellor, and the presidents of Poland, France, and Italy. After a meeting in New York, Union Market was the first stop on the jam-packed agenda for the group’s D.C. visit, which includes cocktails at Barmini, dinners at Restaurant Eve and Art and Soul, and a lunch with chef instructors and students at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg. The club’s Washington tour also included a meeting with President Barack Obama, a formal visit of the White House, and the State Department—hosted by White House chef Cristeta Comerford.
When the chefs walked into Union Market at 12:30 p.m., they made a beeline for the goat cheese and fig cake samples from Righteous Cheese and the flutes of Virginia sparkling wine from Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, then quickly dispersed. “The chefs are starting to wander,” said Union Market director of culinary strategy Richie Brandenburg. Once regrouped, Brandenburg delved into the history of the market, then walked the chefs through all the vendors in the space.
The chefs went up to the roof for photo op, where Steve Boyle, managing director of Edens (the development firm behind Union Market) pointed out the sights, from the Washington Monument to Red Apron Butcher‘s charcuterie workshop. Before sitting down for a lunch of oysters, crab cakes, and watermelon salad at Rappahannock Oyster Bar, the visitors from the Club des Chefs des Chefs all signed a chef coat to commemorate their trip, which will be displayed at Union Market.
Photos by Adele Chapin