Fletcher in the News

Culinary Diplomacy: The Nexus of Food and Diplomacy: Interview with Sam Chapple-Sokol (F12)

"The destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves," said Jean Brillat-Savarin, the 18th-century epicure.

The idea is still alive and well today. Take Sam Chapple-Sokol: His main interest is the nexus of food and diplomacy, and how they can be combined to change the world. He calls this tool culinary diplomacy:

Rebecca Sheir: What is culinary diplomacy?

Sam Chapple-Sokol: I have defined culinary diplomacy in a couple of pieces that I've written as the use of food in cuisine as an instrument to create cross-cultural understanding in the hopes of improving interactions in cooperation. That's an academic way of saying using food to get along with people, to talk with people and to get to know them better.

RS: But it's more than just being a good cook?

SCS: Yes. It’s being a good eater, a good host, a good guest. It's using food as a convener, so it's really what happens at that table with the people around it.

There's a really good word for this: commensality, which comes from the Latin com, which means with, and mensa, which means table. So it's sitting at the table with someone. That's what defines or underlies this field of culinary diplomacy

Listen to the full interview

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