In an extraordinary culinary convergence, the Club des Chefs des Chefs, a prestigious assembly of personal chefs to heads of state worldwide, gathered in Washington, DC, for their annual confab last week. The exclusive group, hosted by none other than the White House Executive Chef, Cristeta Comerford, took a detour into the vibrant world of Indian food during their visit.
The chosen destination: Rasa Grill, a popular Indian fast-casual eatery nestled in the Navy Yard neighborhood. The 28 distinguished culinary maestros indulged their palates in a delightful gastronomic experience, sampling the diverse and rich flavors of Indian cuisine.
Among the notable chefs present were Mark Flanagan, Vice President of the Club des Chefs des Chefs; Caroline Dembiany, Chef to the Chancellor of Germany; Amit Gothwal, Chef to the President of India; Fabrizio Boca, Chef to the President of Italy; Daniele Chiari, Chef to the King of Saudi Arabia; and Jose Roca, Chef to the Prime Minister of Spain.
Gilles Bragard, founder of Chefs des Chefs, was also present, and Chef Montu Saini, who served as the Senior Executive Chef of the Rashtrapati Bhavan from June 2015 to August 2020 and currently the Executive Chef of the Indian Parliament, were also part of the gathering.
During the two hours they spent at Rasa on November, they not only savored the delicacies but also engaged with cofounders Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman, and Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, renowned Washington-area restaurateurs and parents of the cofounders, in a convivial atmosphere that transcended culinary borders.
Rasa, founded in 2019, has rapidly emerged as a culinary gem with five locations, two each in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia, and one in Rockville, Maryland. Its expansion trajectory reflects the growing appreciation for authentic Indian flavors in the Washington metropolitan area.
“Over a quarter century ago, my business partner Surfy and I had the privilege of hosting the
Club des Chefs des Chefs at one of our restaurants,” Chef Vinod, cofounder of critically acclaimed Indian restaurants Indique and Bombay Bistro and the culinary director of Rasa, told the American Bazaar. “Now, the legacy continued with Rasa, as we welcomed these Culinary Ambassadors who serve the world’s most influential figures. It’s an honor to showcase the vibrant flavors of India through our fast-casual concept offering a unique and memorable experience to our distinguished guests.”
Club des Chefs des Chefs — which in English means “The Club of Chefs to Heads of State” was founded by Bragard in 1977.
“When I founded the CCC, my ambition was to pay tribute to the chefs of heads of state: these legendary figures who work behind the scenes,” Bragard, who designs the Grand Chef jacket, says on the organization’s website.
“Every year since 1977, I have sought to bring them together across the world to give them the opportunity to experience the gastronomy of the host country and discuss the major trends in cooking with fellow chefs. As they are aware of the role that these chefs play in international diplomatic relations, heads of state have been quick to support our Club by officially receiving every one of our meetings.”