USA Poultry National Chicken Cooking Competition
U.S. Embassy Accra Chargé d’Affaires Christopher J. Lamora
Gala Dinner – Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra
Thursday, August 29, 2019 – 6:30pm
Representative of the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Creative Arts,
Head of the Food Enforcement Department of the Food and Drug Authority,
Ms. Maria Lovelace-Johnson
Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen; All Poultry-Calls Observed:
Good Evening, and Mema mo adwo. As you just heard, I’m supposed to start my speech tonight with chicken jokes, so I’ve got two for you:
- Why did the hen only lay eggs in winter? … Because she was no spring chicken!
- What do you call a chicken with lettuce in its eye? … Chicken Sees a Salad!
I’m really pleased to be with you here at the Labadi Beach Hotel as we celebrate what I know will be a culinary experience to remember. Tonight’s gala recognizes the efforts of some very talented young people whose interest in the culinary arts brought them to this two-day workshop and today’s competition.
Before we go any further, though, just a quick note about my speech. I was told when I accepted this invitation that my remarks are supposed to be full of chicken-and-egg humor. So as I continue, I only ask that you be patient with my attempts at jokes. I’m kind of an introverted person by nature, and this is forcing me to come out of my shell.
But I’m truly very egg-cited to be here, and I promise to be brief because I want, as much as you do, to be able to enjoy the tasty dishes the competitors have prepared for us.
The U.S. Embassy is pleased to support the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council as they lead today’s activities. USAPEEC has been working with Ghana’s Technical University students for four years, specifically by educating third-year students about the high quality, versatility, and affordability of U.S. poultry products. And we’re honored that chef David Bonom traveled to Ghana from New York to coach and mentor these students on culinary techniques and creativity. But I have a question for Chef David… Between the techniques and the creativity, Which came first?
This biennial event and training program is yet another example of the strong bilateral cooperation that exists between the United States and Ghana in the agricultural sector … It truly is egg-stensive. We recognize the tremendous importance of strengthening our economic and trade ties, as well as the significance of programs like this that will increase local interest in the culinary sector and develop the next generation of Ghanaian chefs and agricultural leaders.
This evening’s gala complements the U.S. Embassy’s long commitment to building the capacity of the local poultry sector, and I’d like to take a minute or two to touch on some of our key programs for those of you who may not be fully abreast of what we’re doing.
Through the Food for Progress program, the U.S. Government has invested $58 million in helping the sector become ever more vibrant and viable. Specifically, we’ve done this through the Ghana Poultry Project and the “Assisting Management in the Poultry and Layer Industries by Feed Improvement and Efficiency Strategies” program, or AMPLIFIES. These efforts are helping to transform farm operations and increase outputs in Ghana’s major poultry-producing regions.
And just a personal note about the AMPLIFIES program… Tonight is actually my second AMPLIFIES cookoff. Back in April, I had the opportunity to represent the U.S. Embassy at the Tortsogbeza festival in the Volta Region, and the AMPLIFIES team was there in force, touting the many health benefits of eggs while dispelling misinformation about their downsides. AMPLIFIES sponsored a cooking competition at the durbar grounds in which local cooks were challenged to integrate eggs into traditional dishes that normally wouldn’t have them. Some of the resulting culinary creations included eggs in Jollof rice, eggs in kontomire, and even eggs in nkate nkwan!
At that same event, AMPLIFIES handed out over 2,000 invidividually-wrapped hard-boiled eggs to the crowd as snacks. Ever since that day, I’ve come to think of the host town of Sekpoe as Segg-poe!
But coming back to this evening’s festivities… I know that, like me, you’re all very excited to find out who will be crowned the champion of this year’s American Chicken Cooking Competition.
Okay, so maybe that one was pushing it a little. But you’re not here to listen to me tell bad jokes anyway, but to celebrate these fine young budding chefs and to savor the wonderful meal they’ve created for us. So I’ll just end by offering my sincere admiration and congratulations to all of the students and institutions that participated.