Washington, DC Contingent to Help Build Excitement for NATO’s 75th Anniversary Summit

Photo courtesy of Washington.org (Destination DC).

Photo courtesy of Washington.org (Destination DC).

As the U.S. capital prepares to host thousands of delegates for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s July Summit, local tourism and hospitality leaders will join U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, NATO leaders and celebrated chefs in Brussels, Belgium, to generate buzz and drive attendance. The visit abroad, April 3-4, will showcase Washington, DC to allied heads of state, leaders and the global community.

The event, held in conjunction with the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting at NATO headquarters, coincides with the 75th anniversary of the original NATO Charter Signing Ceremony on April 4, 1949. Leaders from Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, and Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for Washington, DC, will travel with four acclaimed DC chefs – all members of Secretary Blinken’s Culinary Diplomacy Program:

  • Chef Daniella Senior Alvarez, CEO & founder of Colada Shop
  • Chef Jerome Grant, three-time James Beard Award nominee
  • Chef Johnny Spero, of the Michelin-starred Reverie and Bar Spero
  • Chef Kevin Tien of Moon Rabbit, a five-time James Beard Award nominee and 2023 RAMMYS Chef of the Year 

“Diplomacy is a beautiful marriage with the culinary arts,” said Acting U.S. Chief of Protocol Ethan Rosenzweig. “Food has the power to bring us together, to bridge cultures and highlight our goals of strength, unity, growth and innovation.”

On Thursday, April 4, the chefs will participate in community engagement and service projects in Brussels, bringing a taste of Washington, DC to locals of the Belgian capital. Events include: 

  • Racines x Rêverie collaboration between Chef Johnny Spero and Ugo Federico
  • Dinner & Diplomacy: Connecting Cultures & Inspiring Innovation with Chef Daniella Senior Alvarez at The Nine, Chef Yan Mai Nguyen and Dr. Anne McBride
  • Community Kitchen service project: 500 meals cooked in collaboration with Community Kitchen, an organization that prepares nourishing meals for those who are hungry, homeless, asylum seekers or experiencing poverty in Brussels. Chef Kevin Tien and Chef Akkara Coyette will distribute the meals with the Red Cross in downtown Brussels.
  • Chefs Jerome Grant and Issiaka Johnson will participate in a culinary exchange for an audience of cultural entrepreneurs from the Afro-Belgian community. 

“The importance of hosting the NATO Summit in our city is reflective of our mission as an economic development organization, which is to host meetings and events of all sizes that generate hotel room nights and make a significant impact on the local economy,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, Destination DC. “Washington, DC is the only place where meetings and events have the type of access to local and national leaders, policymakers and strong industries, plus our rising profile as a culinary destination, world-renowned free museums, arts and culture, walkability, theater, nightlife and more.” 

The 75th Anniversary Summit takes place at Events DC’s award-winning and LEED-Gold Certified Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the heart of downtown. The prime location provides easy access to public transit and is walkable to top restaurants, local businesses, shopping and free things to do.

“Events DC is incredibly honored to host the 75th Anniversary NATO Summit at the award-winning Walter E. Washington Convention Center,” said Events DC President and CEO Angie M. Gates. “This historic occasion underscores Washington, DC’s status as a global hub for meetings, conventions, entertainment and culture. I am looking forward to hosting policymakers from around the world this summer and I encourage everyone to take advantage of all that our city has to offer, including our world-class restaurants, hotels, nightlife, arts, retail and much more.”  

Between 8,000 and 10,000 delegates are expected to attend the Summit from July 9-11. In addition to the conference, delegates and the public are invited to celebrate and learn more about NATO at participating local businesses and restaurants and at a variety of public events. 

“We are so proud that four chefs, including 2023 RAMMYS Chef of the Year, Kevin Tien, are representing Washington, DC and the U.S. on this international platform,” said Shawn Townsend, president and CEO, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. “Let us savor the flavors of unity and diversity that our chefs bring to the table.” 

Images and b-roll from Brussels provided upon request.

 

Contact: Danielle Davis, VP Communications, Destination DC

danielle@washington.org; 202-603-2093

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